Smiles all around for good, clean teeth

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Staff reports
At the Annual Give Kids A Smile project Friday, organizers treated at least 162 children and gave a positive report.
Once having the worst rate of untreated tooth decay, Rowan-Salisbury schools now has two schools with no untreated decay in permanent teeth for fifth-graders.
Granite Quarry and Bostian have earned honors by participating in the project for multiple years. This year, both schools scored a perfect 0.
According to Debbye Krueger, public health dental hygienist for the N.C. Department of Public Health, this is due to the unified effort of the schools, Rowan County Dental Society, Rowan County Health Department and the N.C. Oral Health Section.
“When I came to Rowan County nine years ago, we had the distinction of having the worst rate of untreated decay in the state,” Krueger said. “Working with the Health Department to establish the Rowan Smile Center for Children, establishing screening, education and fluoride mouth rinse programs in the schools and sealant projects, both in the schools, and in volunteer projects such as these, we have come a long way towards good oral health for our children.
“We now surpass the state average of children with sealants and it shows in our numbers.”
The project Friday was at the offices of doctors Busby and Webb. The third-graders started the day by using a special new tool, Plak Check, donated by Sunstar, to look at the plaque on their teeth. Assisted by school nurses, the students applied a liquid to their teeth that makes the plaque glow when a special light is shined in their mouths.
This helps the children see where they are missing and to do a better job at home. Each child will have a kit to use at home.Then the students progress into the office where volunteer dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants apply sealants to the chewing surfaces of their permanent molars. Sealants are a thin plastic coating that seals out decay-causing bacteria. The application requires no shots or drilling and will stay in place for several years to protect the teeth.
All this treatment was free of charge and parents knew that their children’s teeth would have the benefit of sealant protection for years to come. Because the sealants only protect the chewing surface, each child also received a toothbrush, toothpaste, educational materials and other surprises to use at home.
Many of the volunteer dental professionals have participated over the five-year history of the project. Some of volunteers were Dr. Robert Ogden, Dr. Brett Busby, Dr. Bill Webb, Dr. John Webb, Dr. Ken Washko, Dr. Stephanie Lindsay, Dr. Steven Yang, Dr. Jim Mitchell, Dr. Jonathan Huffman, Laura Cuthbertson, Traci Alewine, students from the Rowan-Cabarrus dental assisting program, Rowan-Salisbury Schools nurses, local dental hygienists and dental assistants and community volunteers.Other businesses helping out included Cheerwine, Harris Teeter, Krispy Kreme and Chick-Fil-A.
“All in all, this is a glowing testament to what can be done when a community comes together for the benefit of its children,” said Krueger.
If parents need more information on dental health for their children, they may contact Krueger at 704-639-7727.