Regular dental visits are not just important for a child’s smile but also for their overall health. Not seeing a dentist regularly may increase a child’s risk for infection, tooth decay and gum disease, which may lead to more serious health conditions.
However, not every parent can afford to take time off work to bring their children to a dentist on a regular basis. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children between the ages of 5 and 19 who live in lower income areas are twice as likely to have cavities compared to those who live in affluent areas.
In Arizona, more than 20 percent of children live in poverty, which means the need for affordable care is crucial. To help address these issues, UnitedHealthcare and Parsons Center for Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics-Brighter Way Institute realized there was an opportunity to help take some of the burden off families so their children could get the dental care they need.
With the help of an $800,000 grant from UnitedHealthcare, Brighter Way Institute was able to build and deploy a mobile dental clinic that travels around to low-income areas to provide dental screenings and preventative services to both insured and uninsured children at no cost. To date, the mobile dental clinic has served more than 4,600 people and will continue to serve thousands more in the years to come.
This mobile dental clinic has helped put a smile back on the faces of many Arizona families, providing them with the dental care they need to live a healthier life.