Tooth B.U.D.D.S.

Tooth B.U.D.D.S. brings free oral health care to children in need, directly to the schools.

Tooth B.U.D.D.S. — Bringing Understanding of Dental Disease to Schools — was founded in response to the reported oral health disparities in Graham and Greenlee counties. Currently, Greenlee County ranks lowest in the state for children who have been to a dentist in the last year.

Tooth B.U.D.D.S. set its focus on the children of this region who can receive professional dental cleanings, silver diamine fluoride (SDF) applications and S.M.A.R.T. restorations along with traditional oral hygiene instruction, sealants and fluoride varnish treatments free of charge in their school location.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry stated, “Aside from fluoridated water, silver diamine fluoride may be the single greatest innovation in pediatric dental health in the last century . . . SDF give us another option to treat cavities (particularly) in children who can’t cope with traditional fillings.”

Tooth B.U.D.D.S. uses SDF in schools to stop active decay before it turns into a painful infection, giving parents time and flexibility to get to the dentist especially when access to care is the greatest barrier to dental services in rural areas, with no needles, no drills and no sedation.

Roughly 4 percent of the children in this region are suffering from urgent dental needs, which affects a child’s ability to thrive mentally, physically and socially.

Furthermore, children with urgent dental needs are more likely to turn to drugs because of the pain caused by an infected tooth. Tooth B.U.D.D.S.’ mission is to assure no child turns to drugs because of a toothache, which is why the preventive measures used in the program, including silver diamine fluoride and S.M.A.R.T. restorations, are an essential part of fighting the “silent epidemic” of oral disease.

Tooth B.U.D.D.S. is one of the eight nonprofit organizations that make up the Graham Greenlee Tax Credit Coalition. Donations to a qualified charitable organization can be claimed on one’s Arizona tax filing, up to $400 for individuals and up to $800 for couples filing jointly. For every dollar contributed, the donor’s Arizona tax liability is reduced by a dollar.

The Graham Greenlee Tax Credit Coalition is being administered by Arizona Community Foundation of the Gila Valley and includes Tooth B.U.D.D.S., Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley, SEACUS Meals on Wheels, Graham County Rehabilitation Center, Mt. Graham Safehouse, Our Neighbors Farm & Pantry and Canyonlands Healthcare.

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