One of the glaring divides between the haves and have-nots in this country is dental care. Millions of Americans — 180 million by one estimate — do not receive dental care. Fifty percent of adults over age 30 have some level of gum disease, and 1 in 4 children under age 5 has dental disease, according to the Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach.
This is bad on every level. Poor oral health can compromise a person's ability to work, attend school or otherwise lead a normal life. If can also lead to more serious health problems, from poor nutrition to stroke and cancer.
So, The Courant heartily endorses The Connecticut Mission of Mercy, a two-day clinic that provides free dental care to people in Connecticut who would otherwise go without it. The project, part of a national program, was begun here in 2008 by the Foundation for Dental Outreach and the Connecticut State Dental Association, and is held in a different city each year.
This year's site is the XL Center in Hartford on April 25 and 26. Doors open at 6 a.m. It's first come, first served, no appointments necessary. Expect long lines.
Last year at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, more than 1,400 volunteers including 225 dentists cared for 2,125 patients from 140 Connecticut towns and seven other states. This is a remarkable effort; the only downside is that it is not available on the other 363 days of the year.
For more information call (860) 863¿5940 or visit cfdo.org.