Smile Center receives $85,000 for student dental health
Rowan County Health Department
SALISBURY — The Rowan County Health Department Smile Center has received an $85,000 Community Health Grant through the Office of Rural Health to purchase portable dental equipment.
The equipment will enable the Smile Center to go into Rowan-Salisbury schools to provide oral health education, sealants, cleanings and other treatment.
Dental decay is the most prevalent childhood disease. According to the North Carolina Oral Health Section, in 2015-16, 25 percent of kindergartners in Rowan County had untreated dental decay, compared to neighboring regions where about 11 percent of kindergartners had untreated dental decay or the state, where 15 percent of kindergartners have untreated dental decay.
“We are excited about this grant and working with the Rowan-Salisbury Schools again,” said Nina Oliver, Rowan County health director. “We have found that it is difficult for children to come to us — so we will remove that barrier and we go to them. This way, the school does not have to worry about transportation or children missing classes.”
The Smile Center and Rowan-Salisburys have an established relationship for previous dental projects. In the last two years, the Smile Center has provided dental screenings to 45 percent of district elementary schools. In addition to the dental screenings, the Smile Center conducts a sealant project in one elementary school during Children’s Dental Health Month in February.
“We wish we could do more, and now, fortunately, with this funding, we will be able to,” said Oliver.
“Schools play a critical role in promoting the health of young people and helping them to develop healthy habits,” said Carol Ann Houpe, director of students services for Rowan-Salisbury Schools. “We are able to do more because of our partnership with Rowan County Health Department. Our children will not miss valuable learning time because of dental issues.”
For more information, visit www.rowancountync.gov/325/Smile-Center.