California Kids: In Need, Indeed

A recent story in The New York Times, “State Lags in Dental Health Care for Children”, highlights the dire need for dental care for children in this state.

According to the article:

California children’s dental health was ranked third from the bottom in the National Survey of Children’s Health, above only Arizona and Texas. In the Bay Area, children and teenagers up to the age of 17 made nearly 1,980 visits to emergency rooms for preventable dental conditions in 2007. The cost of these visits averaged $172, but if a problem required hospitalization it cost an average of $5,000.

In 2007, the last year that data for many reports was available, more than 500,000 California children between the ages of 5 and 17 missed at least one day of school in a year because of dental problems, costing school districts $29.7 million dollars in lost revenue.

Even though these statistics sound dire, I do hope this press coverage will encourage families, members of the dental community, legislative representatives and others involved in healthcare issues to reinforce the need for our state to do a better job in providing early prevention and regular dental care for children, including those from the neediest families among us. As we hear with many other issues these days, the status quo is unacceptable.

The timing of this article relates to a recent event I attended to support dental care for children of underserved families. Our school’s Kids in the Klinic endowment helps thousands of needy children in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley each year obtain care at the dental school’s clinics. Some have complex medical dental problems. The goal is to establish a $2 million Kids in the Klinic Endowment to help provide ongoing funding to address the dental needs of our community’s children, from infants to teenagers.

I would like to thank everyone involved in the May 8 Vino de Mayo wine auction and fundraiser, an event I recently attended that raised more than $125,000 for Kids in the Klinic — the most ever raised at the event.

Another opportunity to show support for children’s dental care is by attending the Kids in the Klinic Golf Classic on June 29, 2010 at The Olympic Club. Participants will enjoy an 18-hole round of golf on the Ocean Course or the exclusive Lake Course, which has been ranked as one of the top courses in the United States and is the site of the 2012 U.S. Open. There also will be a silent and live auction, and dinner. Find out more and register >>

If you can’t make this event, feel free to visit www.kidsintheklinic.org to learn more about how to support the Kids in the Klinic Endowment. This endowment is just one small part of the solution to the crisis around children’s dental care in California. Every week we see grateful parents and children who are receiving much-needed care thanks to this funding, so we know it is making a difference in their lives.

Please click below to learn more about Kids in the Klinic and see how it is changing lives one smile at a time:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDoAkQesTpE]