By: Dr. Jay Grossman
Founder of Homeless Not Toothless
The mission of Homeless Not Toothless (HNT) is to raise the pride and dignity of underserved children through quality and compassionate dental services. In particular, our current focus is foster children; children living below the poverty line, in low income areas, without insurance benefits.
HNT is partnering with “The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools” that is currently in charge of the education of 14,000 children in South Los Angeles area. With dental issues being the number one reason for absenteeism, we are one solution that will help ensure students get to school and receive an education. Many children are unable to focus at school and many show signs and symptoms of malnutrition due to this dental pain and the sequelae of the various stages of their dental disease. For children in particular, inadequate nutrition can lead to acute impairment of cognitive, social and emotional development, and has been identified as a statistically significant precursor for predicting continued impoverishment and lack of productivity in adulthood (Center on Hunger, Poverty and Nutrition Policy).
Children who do not receive proper dental care are more likely to miss school than those who have preventative dental services. The U.S. Department of Health states that an estimated 51 million school hours are lost per year because of dental related illness, and children who come from lower income families are 12 times more likely to miss school due to dental problems than children from families with higher incomes.
Homeless Not Toothless intends to provide dental screenings and cleanings as well as education to children in the South Los Angeles area.