Fluoride Action Network

Free oral health care for children, courtesy of Tooth B.U.D.D.S.

Source: Eastern Arizona Courier | December 14th, 2019 | Contributed article
Location: United States, Arizona

Tooth B.U.D.D.S. — Bringing Understanding of Dental Disease to Schools — was founded in response to the reported oral health disparities in Graham and Greenlee counties. Currently, Greenlee County ranks lowest in the state for children who have been to a dentist in the last year.

Tooth B.U.D.D.S. has set its focus on the children of this region who can receive professional dental cleanings, silver diamine fluoride (SDF) applications and S.M.A.R.T. restorations along with traditional oral hygiene instruction, sealants and fluoride varnish treatments free of charge in their school location.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry stated,

“Aside from fluoridated water, silver diamine fluoride may be the single greatest innovation in pediatric dental health in the last century . . . [our emphasis]

SDF give us another option to treat cavities (particularly) in children who can’t cope with traditional fillings.”

Tooth B.U.D.D.S. uses SDF in schools to stop active decay before it turns into a painful infection, giving parents time and flexibility to get to the dentist especially when access to care is the greatest barrier to dental services in rural areas, with no needles, no drills and no sedation.

Roughly 4 percent of the children in this region are suffering from urgent dental needs, which affects a child’s ability to thrive mentally, physically and socially.

Furthermore, children with urgent dental needs are more likely to turn to drugs because of the pain caused by an infected tooth. Tooth B.U.D.D.S.’ mission is to assure no child turns to drugs because of a toothache, which is why the preventive measures used in the program, including silver diamine fluoride and S.M.A.R.T. restorations, are an essential part of fighting the “silent epidemic” of oral disease.

The Graham Greenlee Tax Credit Coalition is being administered by Arizona Community Foundation of the Gila Valley and includes Tooth B.U.D.D.S., Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley, SEACUS Meals on Wheels, Graham County Rehabilitation Center, Mt. Graham Safehouse, Our Neighbors Farm & Pantry and Canyonlands Healthcare.