Nearly one in four South Dakota third graders have untreated dental issues. Poor oral health of children can affect their ability to sleep or eat and can even impact their ability to pay attention in school.
Sioux Empire United Way highlighted dental care for youth at the annual WomenUnite Event, educating more than 800 attendees about the need for dental care and two locally funded programs providing solutions:
Delta Dental’s Mobile Dental Program – provides free dental care to youth who do not have access to dental care because of cost or lack of insurance via a mobile dental unit that travels the state. Sioux Empire United Way has provided four weeks of the service at Sioux Falls schools since 2008 and will double that to eight weeks in 2017. It is estimated it will serve more than 200 students through the expansion.
Sioux Empire Smiles – is a one day free dental event for area youth to receive exams, cleanings, x-rays, and more. Sioux Empire United Way has funded the event through their grant process in 2015 and 2016. This year’s event is scheduled for October 1 at Children’s Dental and will serve more than 100 students.
“We have found that the WomenUnite Event is a great way for women across the Sioux Empire to come together and learn more about our community’s needs and Sioux Empire United Way’s response to those needs. This event has helped us launch programs like Girls on the Run and expand programs like BackPack Program,” said Adrienne McKeown, WomenUnite Event chair, Augustana University. “Dental pain can have a tremendous impact on a child’s two basic needs in life – sleep and nutrition. Our goal for this year’s event is to raise awareness and funds for United Way’s efforts.”