LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. – Hundreds of underserved and uninsured elementary school students in the North Miami Beach area will once again receive dental care services this academic school year from Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) College of Dental Medicine thanks to a $55,000 grant from the Dr. John. T. Macdonald Foundation Inc.
The award, which has been renewed for the fourth year, allows NSU to provide dental services such as oral examinations, cleanings, fluoride application, sealants and oral hygiene instruction to uninsured students at participating elementary schools in North Miami Beach during the 2014-15 school year.
Last year, the grant funded more than 2,000 preventative and restorative services for nearly 300 second and third graders at Greynolds Park, Fulford and Gertrude K. Edelman Sabal Palm elementary schools.
“Many of these schoolchildren are at risk for tooth decay and thanks to this generous grant we are able to help them,” said Ana Karina Mascarenhas, B.D.S., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., associate dean and chief of developmental sciences of NSU’s College of Dental Medicine. “This condition affects low-income and disadvantaged children significantly more than their affluent peers.”
More than 50 percent of children without health insurance had not seen a dentist in the past year and more than one in five needed dental care but did not receive it for financial reasons, according to Mascarenhas.
Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If left untreated, it can lead to problems eating, speaking and sleeping. Poor oral health among children has been tied to lower performance in school and poor social relationships. Children with early childhood dental pain often weigh less than other children.
The NSU College of Dental Medicine program provides children from select Miami-Dade County elementary schools with oral health services at NSU’s North Miami Beach Dental Clinic located at 1750 NE 167 Street.