This post was sponsored by Give Kids A Smile as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
William had his first filling recently. It was a whole thing.
He’s had his teeth cleaned a number of times in his 5 years of life, and he’s not a huge fan. The twins are generally okay with the whole cleaning process (Emma clams up about half way through usually and will not open her mouth again for ANYTHING. Stubborn much?), but Will is not into it. He doesn’t like the way it feels. He doesn’t like not knowing what is going on. He would just rather skip the whole thing, thank you very much.
We have this AWESOME pediatric dentist, and he totally puts up with all of Will’s nonsense. It’s so comforting for me as a mom to see him handle my kid. He’s patient and kind. He answers Will’s questions and explains things to calm him. He looks to me for guidance and never judges my parenting or my child’s behavior. And he has balloons so my kids are pretty big fans.
Since Will isn’t super chill about cleanings, we knew the filling would be an ordeal. We ended up having to make two attempts because the first appointment was a fiasco. I had the twins with me, and Will went bananas and it was just not gonna happen. Our awesome dentist was super patient as always and happy to reschedule, so we could give it another shot. We came back two weeks later (without the twins) and got’er done.
The whole thing just made me think a lot about what we moms go through for our kids. How fiercely we fight for what’s best for them (even if that means doing a little battle with them to JUST LET THE DENTIST FINISH!). I couldn’t help but think of how privileged we are to have dental care and access to such an amazing dentist, things that every mom wants for her kids, but not everyone has access to.
I just learned about a program called Give Kids a Smile that helps kids, just like mine, receive the dental care they so desperately need. I didn’t know this until recently but apparently half of all children enter kindergarten with tooth decay. Tooth decay affects 42 percent of children aged 2 to 11 years old and almost 50 percent of minority, underserved, and Medicaid recipients develop it. So what’s the big deal? Children with tooth decay have more school absences, difficulty paying attention in class, and lower self-esteem.
Give Kids a Smile helps solve this growing problem through their national grassroots movement of volunteer dental professionals. They started in 2002 with just a one-day volunteer event providing free dental care to nearly 400 children in the St. Louis area. 15 years later, and with the help of the American Dental Association, they are now a national program. Give Kids a Smile has grown into the largest children’s oral health charitable program in the U.S., having reached more than 5.5 million children through events run by over 500,000 volunteers, including nearly 140,000 dentists, in the last 15 years.
Every year, Give Kids a Smile hosts over 1300 events across the country, where children in need receive dental care, education, and screening. If your child needs oral health care, visit ADAFoundation.org/GKAS and click “Find Dental Care for Your Child” for a list of resources. Or, call 1-844-490-GKAS (4527) to see if there is a GKAS program available in your area.
I can’t imagine what these moms go through, wishing they could provide dental care for their little ones, care that I often take for granted. We moms need to stick together. If you’d like to find a way to help or support Give Kids a Smile, make sure to check out their website https://www.adafoundation.org/gkas and follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GiveKidsASmile.
Even though Will isn’t a super fan of teeth cleaning, I’ll make sure he never forgets how lucky he is to have access to quality dental care. Some kids aren’t as fortunate as he is. Luckily, there are programs like Give Kids a Smile to serve kids like mine, and moms like me. I thank the Lord for that.