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Genesis Gets Impact Palm Beach County Grant to Start Child Dental Care Program in Schools

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Genesis Community Health has received a $100,000 grant from Impact 100 Palm Beach County to start a new dentistry program for disadvantaged children in southern Palm Beach County – an initiative aimed at improving access to dental care for children who otherwise might not visit dentists regularly.

Starting in June, the Genesis Smiles program will provide much-needed dental varnishes, screenings, sealants, and other dental services for up to 1,800 children at elementary schools in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and Boynton Beach.

“This will offer preventive dental care to children from low-income families so that they can avoid childhood tooth decay and gum disease which can lead to serious health problems in adulthood,” said DeAnna Warren, CEO of Genesis. “We are very grateful to Impact 100 Palm Beach County for supporting our program that will help children improve their dental health today and in the future.”

Consider these facts about dental care:

  • Tooth decay is among the most common chronic conditions of childhood, according to the Centers for Disease Control. One in 5 children, aged five to 11, and 1 in 7 children, aged 12 to 19, have at least one untreated cavity. These numbers are higher for children from minority and low-income families. African-American and Hispanic children are more likely than white children to have cavities in their primary teeth and are twice as likely as white children to have untreated cavities.
  • Untreated tooth decay "can cause pain and infection that may lead to difficulty eating, speaking, socializing and sleeping, as well as poor overall health,” a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts said. Tooth decay can also contribute to low self-esteem and dental health problems. 
  • Dental problems can also negatively impact both school attendance and performance. A report issued by the U.S. Surgeon General in 2000 estimated that more than 51 million school hours were lost annually due to dental-related illnesses.
  • People who have tooth decay as children are more likely to have tooth decay as adults, including more than 125 health conditions that may affect or be affected by oral health, including cardiovascular disease, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, obesity, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, according to the American Dental Association.

Genesis staff will use mobile dental equipment to screen and treat underserved children right at their schools.

The Impact 100 Palm Beach County grant will fund Genesis Smiles for at least a year and after that, Genesis will seek other funding to continue the program.

“Our grant has made it really easy and convenient for us to bring dental care to children while they are in school,” Warren said. “This program will make a big difference in the lives of many children.”

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Genesis Community Health, Inc. will serve Christ and the community by providing quality, comprehensive healthcare to all regardless of ability to pay.