Guest Blog by Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation Campaign Director, Wyatt Hornsby
Children across Colorado are suffering from untreated tooth decay — and we need to do something about it.
Unfortunately, many Coloradans aren’t even aware of our children’s oral health crisis. This is slowly changing, thanks to efforts such as the state’s Winnable Battles, but we still have far to go in raising awareness. Many people are surprised to learn tooth decay is the No. 1 chronic disease in children — five times more common than asthma. Nearly half of Colorado’s 1.2 million children start kindergarten with painful cavities due to tooth decay. Many of these kids come from underserved communities, making tooth decay in many respects a disease of poverty.
Cavities can have a cascading effect on a child, undermining their academic potential and social development. When a child has untreated cavities that are painful, they can have problems concentrating, talking, eating and even laughing and smiling. It’s hard to focus, express yourself and be happy when you’re experiencing oral pain!
Beyond the human toll, there’s a real financial cost. In Colorado, treatments for mostly preventable dental problems cost more than $1 billion annually. Pediatric operating rooms in our community are in constant use for emergency oral surgeries—costly procedures that can be prevented. The good news is that it’s a problem we can fix through a few simple at-home practices.
At Delta Dental of Colorado, we’re dedicated to putting an end to childhood tooth decay in Colorado because we want every child to succeed. That’s why we’ve launched our bilingual Brush with Me campaign, which involves ads, community health workers, children’s education programs and more. If ending childhood tooth decay seems like a lofty goal, consider for a moment that cavities are preventable in nearly every case. Good oral health comes down to the simplest of things — like parents and their kids brushing together twice a day.
When parents take time to brush their own teeth, at the same time their children are brushing, they’re modeling a healthy behavior that will last a lifetime and pass on to future generations. Brushing together also gives parents the opportunity to help their kids get to those hard-to-reach places, while ensuring that they’re not just playing in the bathroom (as kids love to do!).
So start brushing as a family today!