Trick or Treat for America's Toothfairy

I received an interesting email today asking me to help promote this charity event. I do not know anything about the National Children's Oral Health Foundation and I tried to find them on the various charity ratings, but could not find them. It seems they are relatively new. Looking at their annual report (page 16 shows the financials) it looks like roughly 71% of the money goes to programs directly involving kids. I also did not know the person from whom the email came and he/she is not a follower. That being said, I am going to state a few facts I found on their website and share some of my stories.

  • Pediatric dental disease is 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever.
  • 44% of American children will suffer from pediatric dental disease before they reach kindergarten
  • 73% of preschoolers and 48% of primary school age children who have experienced cavities currently have unfilled cavities
  • While the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that every child establish a dental home by their first birthday, only 1.5% of 1-year-olds have had a dental office visit compared with 89% who have had an office-based physician visit
  • 4.5 million children develop pediatric dental disease every year
  • Left untreated, pediatric dental disease can lead to malnourishment, bacterial infections, required emergency surgery, and even death
  • Dental disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, poor pregnancy outcomes, and dementia
  • More than 51 million school hours and 164 million work hours are lost each year due to dental disease, leading to increased educational disparities and decreased productivity.
  • Approximately 43% of Americans lack dental insurance, including more than 20 million children; this is almost 3 times the population lacking medical coverage.
  • For every $1 spent on oral health preventive measures, American taxpayers are saved as much as $50 in restorative and emergency procedures for the under- and uninsured.

With Halloween next week, I think it is important for all of us to remember and think about our children's oral health. I know I have been building up the story of the Pumpkin Fairy. You can find my version of the Pumpkin Fairy on this past post. There is also a wonderful book, All Hallows Eve: The Story of the Halloween Fairy by Lisa Johnson, that has a similar story of collecting candy for a fairy and she will exchange it for a toy. I have also heard a version of a candy witch that visits a few days after Halloween. Anyway, I am planning on only letting Hazel keep a small amount of her candy and then sending the rest to work with Steve.

I also know we are lucky enough to have dental insurance and be able to take Hazel to the dentist. Hazel got all of her teeth early, so if felt like the first two years she was always teething. We also are lucky to have a pediatric dental group near us. I also grew up with dental insurance so going to the dentist was a must in my house. Even as an adult without the insurance (not all school systems offer it), I always went to the dentist twice a year. So I do feel this is an important cause. I also know that some children are more prone to cavities and problems than others. My nephew for example has many issues and needs to spend about 5-10 minutes a night taking care of his teeth. My sister does it with him and when he stays with my parents, they are well versed on what needs to be done each night. Apparently this runs on his father's side of the gene pool, but it still needs to be dealt with.

So I'm letting you know about this charity and also asking you to think about your own children's teeth in this crazy season of Halloween candy going right through to our New Year's parties (or in my case my daughter's birthday party since New Year's Eve and her birthday are the same).