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February recognized as Children's Dental Health Month

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Posted at 4:21 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 16:21:16-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan legislators, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Delta Dental Foundation are celebrating the recognition of February as Children's Dental Health Month in the state of Michigan, according to a statement that was sent to Fox 47.

“Dental health is extremely important to the overall health of our kids, and it’s important that we celebrate the positive choices children and their parents make to have a healthy smile,” said state Representative Ben Frederick (R-Owosso). “As a parent, I know that addressing dental health early on is vital to making sure children across Michigan are set up for success.”

By third grade, more than half of Michigan children have experienced dental disease and half of those cases go untreated, according to the statement. In addition to that, several studies have found that children with dental pain "are significantly more likely to sleep poorly, miss school and are less likely to complete their required homework," according to the statement.

“When it comes to the importance of dental health for children entering kindergarten, the proof is in the numbers,” said state Senator Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington). “Tooth decay is the number one most common chronic childhood disease in the United States – five times more common than asthma. If we all work together to take action to ensure that children receive the dental care that they need to achieve optimum health, our whole state will benefit.”

The foundation has made a $225,000 investment to help support sealant and fluoridation programs, according to the statement.

The SEAL! Michigan Sealant program gives children who are on Medicaid, Health Kids Dental, MIChild or other dental insurance programs with sealant services at no cost. Sealant services are one of the most effective ways to fight tooth decay, according to the statement. Water fluoridation is also another key factor in dental health with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention naming it "one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century," the statement said.

SEAL! Michigan has increased school-aged children's access to dental sealants and continues to expand, the statement said. In fact, in a six-year period, participating schools had increased by 77% and students screened through the program had increased by 101%, the statement said.

In the past year, 6,905 students were screened and 15,483 total teeth were sealed, according to the statement.

“The Delta Dental Foundation is committed to building healthy, smart, vibrant communities, and we are proud of our partnership with MDHHS and providers across the state to make sure children have access to these important preventative services,” said Goran Jurkovic, CEO of Delta Dental of Michigan. “Together, we can help children build healthy habits for a lifetime.”

The Community Water Fluoridation program has improved Michigan communities since its initial adoption in Grand Rapids back on Jan. 25, 1945, according to the statement.

At this time, 74% of all Michigan residents have access to fluoridation water and research has shown that every $1 spent on fluoridation saves $40 by reducing the need for fillings, crowns or other dental treatments, according to the statement.

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