Locals Contribute to Fight against Childhood Tooth Decay
Did you know that tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease during childhood? Tooth decay can have far-reaching effects on a child’s life. Left untreated, decay can cause pain and infection that can lead to difficulty eating, speaking, socializing, sleeping, concentrating and poor overall health. Dental problems also negatively affect school attendance and performance. When students are in pain, they are not able to stay focused on school work and can cause behavior issues in some.
There are multiple reasons some children suffer from chronic tooth decay. Some may have limited access to dental care, whether it is due to a lack of insurance, lack of transportation or other barriers facing the child and their family. “It is extremely difficult to see students with dental pain, especially if the family doesn’t have dental resources,” says Lucinda Erbs, Reedsburg School District nurse.
The Reedsburg Area Medical Center Foundation Community Health Care program can help! Thanks to long time Reedsburg residents and dedicated philanthropists Don and Barbara Carrig, their generous donation and foresight began this important, thriving program. Community Health Care is designed to provide preventative health services to low income residents with no insurance who have an identified health need. It also benefits students in the Reedsburg School District with emergent dental health needs. “There seems to be large gaps in access to dental care throughout our area,” says Don. “So when Barbara and I made the initial donation to get the dental project rolling, our plan was to help close those gaps and get children the dental care they need and deserve. No child should be faced with unmet dental care with this program in place.”
To participate in the RAMC Foundation Community Health Care Dental program, families are asked to complete a simple application, available through the Reedsburg School District nurse office. Interested families speak with the school district nurse, who determines if they qualify and then sends the application to the family. Once approved, families are connected to a participating local dental office to receive care.
There is no question that proper oral hygiene habits and professional dental care are vital to improving the health of Reedsburg area children. Barbara adds, “We know what happens to children without proper dental care. We know there is a program to help. We know we have the support of participating local dentists. There truly is no reason any child should go without.” Don and Barbara plan to match donated funds on an annual basis to ensure this important program is supported long term. Matching funds actually become a “quadfecta” where donations are matched by Carrig’s, the RAMC Foundation and RAMC. So in essence, a donation of $100 becomes $400. They encourage anyone to consider supporting this program with their donations. “The Carrigs have come to embody the word ‘community,’ which is why they have spent much of their lives supporting it in any way they can,” says Dale Turner, RAMC Chief Operating Officer. “We are incredibly grateful for their continued support and their encouragement of others to do the same.”
For more information on the RAMC Foundation Community Health and Dental Care program, call Carol Lankey at the Foundation office - 524-9088.
To support the RAMC Foundation Community Health Care program, donations can be mailed to: RAMC Foundation, 2090 Ridgeview Drive, Reedsburg, WI 53959.