Dr. Richard Mandelaris, a Davis pediatric dentist, has kicked off fundraising for the Davis Oral Health Project with an in-kind donation of 1,000 fluoride varnish treatments, a $1,500 value. The cherry and melon-flavored topical treatments were delivered to CommuniCare for their Smile Savers outreach program.
The Davis Oral Health Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation recently formed by a group of Davis residents concerned about dental decay and the suffering it causes in at-risk groups. They currently seek input from community members who are inspired to participate in addressing this problem.
The group is already working with CommuniCare to help the Smile Savers dental outreach program. Smile Savers visits classrooms with a minimum percentage of low-income children. The class receives instruction about nutrition and oral hygiene. Each child also receives a screening by a dental hygienist and a topical fluoride varnish treatment. CommuniCare recently resumed providing Smile Savers services in Davis and is currently offering the service for families in local Head Start programs. The Davis Oral Health Project believes that expanding the Smile Savers program to elementary schools is one of the best ways that we can improve dental health and help curb the epidemic of pediatric dental decay amongst at-risk children in Davis.
A long-term goal being considered is to help sponsor a pediatric dentist at CommuniCare’s Davis clinic who could provide outpatient surgical treatments. This would help to reduce the number of Denti-Cal pediatric patients now requiring operating room time in local hospitals. Currently children with extensive dental decay may need to wait for surgical and restorative treatment. Ultimately, the Davis Oral Health Project hopes its efforts will help to improve access not only for prenatal, infant and early childhood preventive care, but also care for other vulnerable groups.
Other projects being considered include using xylitol gum and mints in a variety of settings. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that reduces the oral bacteria that can cause tooth decay, stopping it before it even gets started. It can also reduce the incidence of ear infections in children.
In addition, the Davis Oral Health Project is interested in providing basic oral health care supplies to disadvantaged groups. The Project’s second in-kind donation was 144 full-sized tubes of fluoride toothpaste from Davis resident Barbara King, to be distributed by Davis’ STEAC (Short Term Emergency Aid Committee) to people struggling to meet basic needs.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, get more information, or otherwise support the project’s efforts, please contact Alan Pryor at email@example.com or (916) 996-4811.