Register: Free child dental screenings this weekend at Williamsbridge Road CVS

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A child learns about dental health at a Kare Mobile clinic in Atlantic, Georgia in April.
Photo courtesy Kare

Dental care is crucial to preventing future issues down the road.

This weekend, a mobile dentistry clinic will be providing dental screening to children. The clinic, hosted by Kare Mobile — a Kentucky-based mobile dentist program — is sponsored by Crest, Oral-B and CVS. The clinic will take place in the CVS Pharmacy parking lot at 1916 Williamsbridge Road in the Bronx, from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, June 3, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, June 4.

Registration for an appointment is required online and must be done by someone 18 years or older. The online registration will be open through Saturday through the CASG — short for Closing America’s Smile Gap — tab on the Kare Mobile website.

A child receives dental care at a Kare Mobile clinic in Atlanta, Georgia in April. Photo courtesy Kare

Families will also receive oral care education and products.

Tayvon Gray, a New York City Football Club player, will attend the event on Saturday from 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. chatting with attendees.

“While tooth decay is preventable, dental care is out of reach for many families,” a press release for the event states. “Not every kid has a fair chance at a healthy smile, which can have a life-altering impact on their tomorrow. This is why Crest and Oral-B are Closing America’s Smile Gap by bringing dental care access, oral health products and education to kids who need it most.”

American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Hispanic and Black third-graders have more tooth decay than their white classmates, according to a Pew data analysis using data from 22 states in March. Dental sealants to prevent decay is also lower among the non-white groups. But the Pew research also found that many states do not keep track of children’s oral health indicators by race and ethnicity.

And a 2016 Pew article showed that racial disparities in dental care persist from childhood through adulthood.

A Crest/Oral-B spokesperson cited various data points from an American Journal of Public Health May 2012 research paper, including that kids from low-income families are twice as likely to suffer from tooth decay. According to the study, tooth decay is most prevalent among Hispanic youth, reaching more than half.

From 2019 to 2020, the number of Medicaid enrollees in New York state ages 2 to 20 who have visited the dentist in the year prior decreased from 50.5% to 40%, according to state health data. For preventative dental visits, the numbers were even lower, dropping from 46.6% to 35.1%.

According to the 2019 NYC Kids Survey and Community Health Survey, 14% of children ages 2 to 13 did not have a preventative dental visit in the year prior.

As for the number of dentists practicing in the Bronx, in 2019, there were 55 dentists in the Bronx per 100,000 people, compared to 85 dentists per 100,000 people statewide, according to state health department data.

As of Jan. 1, 2022, there are 280 New York state licensed dentists in the Bronx, significantly less than the any of the five boroughs. Queens has more than 1,500; Brooklyn has almost 1,400; Manhattan has more than 2,600 and Staten Island has 357.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene did not respond to a request for the city’s most recent data on children’s access to dental care on Tuesday afternoon.

This article was updated at 2:39 p.m.  on June 2.

Reach Aliya Schneider at aschneider@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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