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Why Dental Health?

25 years of helping children thrive

51 million school hours lost to dental problems, each year!

In the United States, tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease of childhood. It affects one in four elementary school children and two out of three adolescents. Nationally, children lose 51 million school hours to dental problems each year. According to a 2012 study published by the American Dental Association, annual emergency room dental visits in the US reached 2.1 million, many of which could have been avoided with regular dental care.

Sullivan County has been listed among the least healthy counties in New York State because of limited public transportation, persistent poverty, and limited access to healthcare, including dental care. The poverty rate is 13.3%, higher than the U.S. national average of 12.8%. Preventive dental care, though highly cost-effective, is out of reach for many Sullivan County residents, and transportation is complicated.

An answer to a national problem

Through consultations with local health and school officials in Sullivan County, PRASAD determined that a school-based dental health program could address this challenge – a program that would provide comprehensive dental services, including education, prevention, detection and treatment, and could serve as a model program that responds to the needs of the community, respects each individual, and fosters self-reliance. In April 1998, PRASAD launched its Children’s Dental Health Program (PRASAD CDHP)

PRASAD CDHP delivers services via a state-of-the-art mobile dental clinic right at public school campuses, making it easy for children and parents alike. We chose this service delivery approach because of Sullivan County’s rural nature and limited public transportation. We provide these services through partnerships with schools and local agencies like County Public Health and Head Start programs.