BENEFITING: UNITED WAY OF VENTURA COUNTY INC
Eric Harrison wrote -Thank you for participating in this year's Santa to the Sea and choosing to support United Way, as we kick start our Building Healthy Smiles Initiative. Building Healthy Smiles is an initative that moves the needle on giving all children access to a dental home. Dental disease is the most common chronic illness and unmet need of children in California. Sadly, our state ranks 47th in good oral health due to a significant gap of children having access to a dental home. Locally, we have more than 53,000 kids enrolled in Denti-Cal and only 86 dentists who accept it. That amounts to one dentist for every 617 kids. As a result, more than 200 visits to the emergency room and an estimated million dollars of hospital bills could have been prevented by ensuring these children had a dental home. In addition, parents are missing work and schools are losing money due to absenteeism. The domino effect is real and one that needs to be addressed on every level. United Way is working actively on solutions to help shape health policy, mobilize dental providers and inspire our active community investors to be a part of changing children's lives. Together, united, we can build a healthier, more resilient community by improving access to dental services for all children. And that's something to smile about.