April 24 wasn’t an ordinary Monday for Amina Dixon, a second-grader at Cimarron Elementary. Shortly after school started that day, Cara Rudolph, the school nurse, asked Dixon to come to the cafeteria for a special surprise. That’s when Dixon learned she was the winner of a new, two-wheeled bicycle. While Dixon didn’t have much to say about the surprise, her bright smile showed how excited she was.
The bike was presented by Chopper Toppers, a program that provides free dental screenings, preventative sealants, dental referrals and oral health education to children in need. Chopper Toppers works with the Cherry Creek School District and the school nurses at Arrowhead, Polton and Sagebrush elementary schools, as well as the district’s 11 Title I elementary schools, where more than 50 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch. Together, they support students’ oral health, which is critical to their ability to learn.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States. About one in five children between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one untreated, decayed tooth. The percentage of children between the ages of 5 and 19 with untreated tooth decay is more than double among low-income families in comparison to children of higher-income households.
Chopper Toppers provides free screenings, flouride treatments and sealants to students in primary (first, second or third) grades and offered a free bicycle to any school where 90% or more of primary students participated in the Chopper Toppers or another dental health program.
Cimarron hit that mark and as a result, Amina Dixon now has a new bicycle to enjoy. She did say she will probably share it with her twin sister, Alika.