. . .tooth decay remains one of the most chronic infectious diseases among US children. It is five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever
. . .According to the 2003-2004 Healthy Smiles Healthy Growth report: 55% of third graders have some tooth decay; 30% have signficant delay. Among low income children, tooth decay is more prevalent. 64% of third graders in the free/reduced-price lunch program have tooth decay, compared with 46% of those not in the program.
. . .only 15% of the counties in Illinois have a pediatric dentist.
In response to these statistics and others, ILCHF launched a Children's Oral Health Initiative aimed at improving the health of Illinois children by expanding access to oral health services.
The mission of the Initiative is for all children to have access to quality oral health services in their communities and a new culture of awareness to exist throughout the state about the interconnection of oral health and overall health.
In 2007, ILCHF began strategically investing in targeted efforts in three key areas: (1) Strengthening and building the capacity of the oral health safety net system; (2) Increasing the workforce/workforce development; and (3) Increasing outreach/public education/awareness of children's oral health.
ILCHf has adopted the following guiding principles in the focus area oral health. To be funded by ILCHF, organizations must commit to these principles:
A commitment to the principle that all children in Illinois should have access to quality oral health services in their communities.
A commitmen to ensure a culture of awareness exists throughout the state about the interconnection between oral health and overall health.
A commitment to provide services within the concept of a "dental home" where services are ongoing and not simply episodic in nature and begin no later than age one. Services should include preventive, restorative as well as emergency care. In addition, services shoudl include information and education about proper care in accordance with accepted guidelines and referrals to other specialists when needed.
A commitment to the collective improvement of oral health for children in Illinois - learning from others in the field.
A commitment to the collection of data and to the achievement of successful outcomes (eg increased number of children treated and completed treatment plans)
A commitment to ensure oral health services are operated under a sustainable business model.
A commitment to a coordinated and collaborative system of care.
Through today, the Foundation has invested over $22 million in these targeted efforts resulting in over 65 new or expanded clinics throughout the state of Illinois serving well over 200,000 additional children.
Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation 1200 Jorie Boulevard, Suite 301 Oak Brook, IL 60523 (p) 630.571.2555 (f) 630.571.2566