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Community Highlights: United Concordia Dental

At Downey Elementary in Harrisburg, Pa., dental hygienist Caren Butera and friend Nemo demonstrate proper teeth brushing to children.

400 kids benefit from receiving dental care at school

In 2014, United Concordia Dental, Highmark Blue Shield, Harrisburg SMILES and other local health partners worked together on a pilot program designed to increase student visits to a dental clinic at Downey Elementary School in Harrisburg.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood illness in America — more than a fourth of all children ages two to five and half of those ages 12 to15 are affected by tooth decay. Research also exists that shows the critical connection between the health of the mouth and the health of the body.

By delivering needed dental care, such as exams, sealants, x-rays and fillings, to the school's 400 students, the program helped increase access to care and improved oral health. United Concordia Dental and Highmark Blue Shield donated $15,000 to pay for dental services that exceeded the annual maximum allowed by the state's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), along with toothbrushes and floss for each student and other program incentive items.