OKCIC’s dental department provides dental services to over 50 new pediatric patients.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, hosted Give Kids a Smile Day on February 7, 2023 to promote dental health for children.
Give Kids a Smile Day will be observed February 3, 2023, to highlight the importance of children’s oral health, and to provide an opportunity for children to receive dental care who normally wouldn’t have access. According to the National Indian Health Board, half of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in dental shortage areas and face considerable barriers to care. Additionally, American Indian and Alaska Native children between the ages of two and five have an average of six decayed teeth, while the same age group in the U.S. population has only one decayed tooth.
“Untreated cavities are painful and may lead to infections, but they can also lead to issues with speaking and learning,” said Monica McKee, OKCIC’s Vice President of Ancillary Clinical Services. “We’re proud to set our pediatric patients on a path to future oral health in a fun and exciting way.”
On Give Kids a Smile Day, OKCIC provided cleanings to 40 children, fillings to 9 children and extractions to 2 children. Captain Supertooth, a Delta Dental of Oklahoma Foundation program, was present to give out toothbrushes and provide oral health education resources. Children also received goodie bags with a toothbrush, toothpaste, stickers and other age-appropriate tools for dental care.
“Dental hygiene habits form at a young age, so it’s important to encourage oral health early in a child’s life,” McKee said.
In addition to regular cleanings, parents can take other steps to keep their children’s mouths clean and healthy. When in doubt, remember PEARLS of wisdom:
P: Protect tiny teeth by caring for your own mouth while pregnant.
E: Ensure to wipe your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth after each meal.
A: Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle.
R: Remember to brush your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily. For children under two, consult with your medical provider before using fluoride toothpaste.
L: Limit added sugars, and eat more fruits and vegetables.
S: Schedule your child’s first dentist appointment by their first birthday or after their first tooth appears.
About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 to provide excellent health care and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for nearly 23,000 patients from over 200 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians can receive a range of services, including medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, please call (405) 948-4900 or visit www.okcic.com.