Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Provides Free Dental Exams to Children in Elgin
Forty-two Illinois children received free dental exams on Saturday in Elgin.
The event held at Elgin Community College’s Dental Assisting Clinic was part of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Dentist By 1 program, which educates parents and caregivers about good oral health habits and the benefits of starting dental visits early.
About 62% of children attending this year’s event had never been to a dentist before, and 35% showed signs of tooth decay.
“By the time children celebrate their first birthday, they should have already seen the dentist or have a dental appointment scheduled,” said Lora Vitek, director of enterprise philanthropy and community benefit for Delta Dental of Illinois. “Many parents are simply not aware that kids should visit the dentist by age 1. We are proud to partner with Elgin Community College to encourage early dental visits and provide free dental care to young children.”
At Saturday’s event, volunteer dental teams from Illinois dental practices provided free preventive and diagnostic services including dental cleanings, exams, fluoride treatments, sealants and X-rays. Children received an oral health kit with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and a dental care instructional sheet in English and Spanish. Costumed characters, Tooth Wizard and PlaqueMan, from Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Land of Smiles oral health education program were there to teach children and parents about good oral health habits.
Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent diseases among children and can develop any time after the first tooth comes in, starting at around 6 months of age. Scheduling a dental visit by age 1 allows a child and parent to establish a relationship with their dentist. It also sets the foundation for regular visits and good oral health habits.
Since 2012, Dentist By 1 events have raised awareness about the importance of early dental visits and provided free dental exams. Over the past seven years, 391 Illinois children have been treated through the Dentist By 1 program. This year’s event was held in collaboration with Elgin Community College’s dental assisting program and Greater Elgin Family Care Center. For more information about Dentist By 1, visit dentistby1.com/Illinois.