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Letter From Dear Doctor

Issue 5 of Dear Doctor Magazine

Dear Doctor — An Advocate for Children's Oral Health

In this issue you will find our first feature on pediatric dentistry, the Age One Dental Visit. This takes us "back to our futures" — starting with the health of our most important treasures our children. In an upcoming issue, we will feature the world's most ubiquitous disease — Dental Caries (Tooth Decay); a completely preventable disease that today is still causing needless pain and suffering to say nothing of the escalating costs running in the billions for care. But this raises a much larger question. Millions of otherwise healthy children are not covered by dental insurance, and still others with disabilities have few places to turn for treatment. In fact, the U.S. Surgeon General has called oral disease a "silent epidemic".

God Bless Americans! Where governments have not yet responded, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have stepped in to help fill the void. A few examples:

National Children's Oral Health Foundation (NCOHF): An estimated 4 million U.S. children have dental problems so severe they have trouble eating, sleeping and learning. They are building a network of exemplary non-profit facilities to ensure the delivery of outstanding oral health care, education and prevention services to the nation's most vulnerable children. Their goal is to treat 5 million children most in need through more than 500 centers throughout the US and to begin providing global support to developing nations.

American Dental Association (ADA's) "Give Kids A Smile®" Campaign: The nation's dentists provide free oral health care services to half a million children from low-income families at more than 2,000 sites nationwide on the first Friday of February each year, during National Children's Dental Health Month.

Operation Smile: Throughout the world, Operation Smile volunteers repair childhood facial deformities while building public and private partnerships for sustainable healthcare systems for children and families. Together, they give children smiles, change their lives and heal humanity. Operation Smile currently supports international and local, in-country medical missions to 33 countries.

Please help support the NCOHF, the ADA's Give Kids a Smile program and Operation Smile. Corporations, dental companies and private entities have helped fund these NGOs; you can help too. In addition call your local, state and federal officials to advocate on behalf of underserved children.

Dear Doctor strives to educate members of the public not only about individual concerns, but also the concerns of the community and general public. You can help! Dear Doctor is dedicated to advocating on your behalf through education. As our subscriptions and readership increase, we will be a more effective advocate for not only individuals but for the community at large. Let us continue to hear from you with your questions and comments.

Our profound thanks once again,

Mario A.Vilardi, DMD

Garry A.Rayant, BDS, DDS, LDSRCS, MS