Dental Tribune International

Program to improve the oral health of children in foster care gaining momentum

By Dental Tribune International
November 09, 2018

NEW YORK, U.S.: In a bid to help children in foster care improve their oral health, New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry announced a partnership to provide dental screenings. After just six months, the program has managed to help 100 youths.

As reported by Dental Tribune in May 2018, the NYU College of Dentistry began offering weekly 30-minute educational sessions on oral health at the Nicholas Scoppetta Children’s Center. All screenings and restorative treatment take place on-site at a mobile dental care unit at the center.

“Today’s ACS is committed to enhancing the lives of the children we serve and our partnership with NYU College of Dentistry is just one more way that we’re providing the most comprehensive care possible to children in New York City. I’m thrilled that, in just a few months, we’ve been able to provide 100 children in foster care with high-quality dental services and education. This is an exciting milestone and I look forward to serving hundreds more,” said ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell.

As part of the treatment program, NYU dental students perform full dental examinations of teeth, mouth and gingivae, and finish with a fluoride treatment. Children who need cleanings, fillings, fixed orthodontic appliances or other procedures are scheduled for expedited follow-up visits at the NYU College of Dentistry, just a few blocks from the center.

According to the dental school, the single most common chronic childhood disease is dental caries, with a prevalence five times higher than that of asthma and seven times higher than that of hay fever. Additionally, children in poverty experience twice the rate of caries as others and are four times more likely not to be treated.

“On-site dental care and education is another example of the comprehensive services offered at the Children’s Center, where we work to provide a safe and child-friendly environment. This includes mitigating the effects of acute trauma while caring for their medical, social, emotional and physical needs and concurrently providing children with a smooth transition to placement,” said Dr. Angel V. Mendoza, ACS Agency Medical Director.

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