Four out of five children, according to the American Medical Association, do not receive preventative dental care despite being eligible for it under Medicaid and other public insurance programs. In Chicago alone, 42% of individuals suffer from inadequate dental care, a crisis which the Chicago Community Oral Health Forum directly attributes to a lack of access.
Children with on-going dental pain are nearly three times more likely than their healthy peers to miss school due to dental pain, and are four times more likely to have a low grade-point average—below the median GPA of 2.8—when compared to children who had not had dental pain. These negative effects, which can lead to difficulty eating, speaking, socializing and sleeping, are completely preventable.
Mobile C.A.R.E.’s Dental Van—following the delivery model perfected by the Asthma Vans—will be a comprehensive mobile clinic with a dentist aboard which will break down barriers of access to dental services for children across the Chicagoland area. By providing dental care to children without increasing school absenteeism, the Dental Van will:
- Decreases Emergency Room visits for preventable oral health issues
- Bolsters awareness of good dental health habits
- Cuts down on school absenteeism
- Increases median GPA
- Allows parents to take a more pro-active role in their child’s oral health
The Dental Van will first be made available to the 40 partner schools already served by Asthma Vans starting in late 2014. It is estimated that the Dental Van will serve over 2,000 children in its first year alone.
The Dental Van can be contacted at 312-543-5693. Learn more about the dental van by going to http://mobilecarechicago.org/