KENNEBUNK, Maine, April 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A child showed up to school with her face swollen and in pain because her family didn't have the money to take her for an emergency room visit. By chance, a visiting dental program was at her school that day and the dentist was able to examine her, identify an infected tooth and recommend urgent follow-up care. To help more children like this little girl as well as adults, Tom's of Maine is awarding $20,000 to five non-profit clinics for a total of $100,000 to provide dental care in areas with the highest percentage of their population living under the poverty level, including Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico and Washington, D.C.
The Tom's of Maine Dental Health for All Program aims to create greater access to oral care. As part of a steadfast commitment to healthy and human goodness, Tom's of Maine has supported Dental Health for All for more than a decade. To date, Dental Health for All has helped make 200,000 additional patient visits possible with $1 million in funding to more than 30 school and community-based dental clinics.
This year, the following non-profit organizations will each receive $20,000 to help increase access to oral care for people who otherwise will go without:
Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center– Clarksdale, MS
"With over 40 percent of our children in poverty, there is a decreased priority on oral healthcare. Therefore, many children fail to get the care needed and end up with chronic health problems later in life. We are elated to receive the Tom's of Maine funding because it will help us reduce disparities by providing mobile clinic services at schools and communities that lack access to oral health services."
- Aurelia Jones-Taylor, CEO
Ben Archer Health Center– Hatch, NM
"We are delighted to be selected by Tom's of Maine for funds to purchase a panoramic x-ray machine for our new health center. We can't thank them enough for their help. We will put the equipment to good use by providing dental services to the many underserved people in our area."
- Mary Alice Garay, executive director
Christ Health Center– Birmingham, AL
"Each day we receive more and more requests for new patient appointments. Receiving funds from Tom's of Maine Dental Health for All will allow us to increase our patient visits by more than 640 a year, which means that we can serve more patients in our community and surrounding communities needing quality, comprehensive discounted dental care."
- Luke Powell, DMD
HealthPoint Family Care – Covington, KY
"Taking a portable dental office with clinical staff directly to low-income and uninsured students at their schools removes nearly all the barriers children have to receiving oral health care. The Tom's of Maine funding will help make this possible."
- Chris Goddard, CEO
Kids Smiles, Inc.– Washington, D.C.
"Kids Smiles is thrilled to receive this important funding from Tom's of Maine, which recognizes the critical need for oral health care for our most vulnerable children. We appreciate their trust in our work, which will have a significant impact on the children of Washington, D.C., who cannot always access quality dental care. By bringing screening, prevention and restorative services to children at school, we are not only enhancing their oral health, but their overall health."
- Cheryl Janssen, CEO and executive director
"This year, we saw nearly double the amount of applications from clinics, which tells us that the need for access to oral care is growing," said Susan Dewhirst, goodness programs manager at Tom's of Maine. "These clinics are life-changing for children and adults alike who rely on them for basic and often urgent oral care. We find the work of the clinic staff inspiring and truly making a difference in the quality of the lives they touch. We hope our funding helps to reach more people and to keep these vital dental clinics active in the community."
According to a new report by the Pew Center on the States, preventative care performed at a dental clinic is key to helping states reduce their costs from dental-related emergency rooms visits. The Pew Center estimates that preventable dental conditions were the primary reason for 830,590 ER visits by Americans in 2009—a 16 percent increase from 2006.
For more information on the winning clinics, visit www.tomsofmaine.com.
About Tom's of Maine
Tom's of Maine is a leading natural products company focused on oral and personal care, including high quality toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, deodorant and bar soap products. The company has a long-standing commitment to healthy, human and environmental goodness. For over 40 years, Tom's of Maine has funded hundreds of nonprofit efforts by giving 10% of its profits back to the community and encouraging employees to use 5% (12 days) of employee time to volunteer. Tom's of Maine employees regularly contribute suggestions for improving the company's high sustainability standards. Ideas from wind power to ways to improve recycled and recyclable packaging options are critical to the company's sensitive way of doing business and passion for innovation. Tom's of Maine enjoys partnering with its consumers, vendors and community organizations to support lasting, positive change that is good for people and the planet. Visit us online at www.tomsofmaine.com or at www.facebook.com/TomsofMaine.
 U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty 2009/2010: American Community Survey Briefs, 2010 Data, released Oct. 2011
SOURCE Tom's of Maine