Launched in 2021, this project provides free dental and vision referrals to immigrant youth in Phoenixville. This partnership with Healthcare Access is funded through PA is Ready!
Newcomer youth lack access to critical dental and vision care. The disparities in dental care for uninsured immigrants are well documented, particularly for children. According to 2015–2016 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), Latinx children have the highest prevalence of dental caries of children aged 2–19 years in the US. The rates for Hispanic children were higher than for all other groups surveyed at 57.1% and significantly higher than for non-Hispanic white children. Immigrant youth often require many restorative procedures due to prior neglect and lack of dental care access. Dental care prevents serious infection and even death that can result from severe poor oral hygiene, improves mental functioning and self-esteem, and sets youth up for future employment success.
Many immigrant youth lack access to vision care. Without proper prescription glasses, one’s ability to function can be negatively impacted. Headaches, eye fatigue from squinting and trouble focusing are just some of the impacts of not having regular eye exams and updated prescriptions. Poor vision can impact a child’s capacity to learn and performance at school. Again, proper vision has so many implications for future success.