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Health & Wellness

New Grant Program Will Fund Dental Care for Kids

A person getting their teeth cleaned
The groups said access to oral healthcare is a pressing need for many Illinois children.

Illinois organizations helping children get dental care are being invited to apply for a new program that will commit 4 million dollars to improving the oral health of kids in the state.

The Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation and the Delta Dental Foundation of Illinois are partnering together to fund the Health Equity Grant Program, which focuses on children impacted by poverty.

Bob Egan, senior program officer at ICHF, said many parents and guardians don't understand the importance of dental care and how it can impact a child's life.

"Infections can cause disease that can lead to death. It certainly lead to tooth loss, which can affect a child's ability to communicate, a child's ability to succeed in school, a child's ability to eat. As well as, I mean, I don't know if you've had a tooth issue or a toothache, but the pain associated with it is excruciating," Egan said.

The Health Equity Grant Program is currently accepting applications from organizations serving Illinois families and children. They hope to determine the recipients by fall and begin distributing funds in early 2022. Applications can be found on the ILCHF website.