Dental Program Gets High Marks at End of School Year
July 9, 2003
Health experts are encouraging parents to make sure that their children's summer routine still includes the good dental hygiene routine they were following when they were in school.
Experts say it's important for parents to build on the successes of school dental programs. For instance, "Seal in a Smile," a school-based dental program of Contra Costa Health Services, has been providing free dental services through a professional dental hygienist to students in the county, including those in Cambridge, Meadow Homes, Holbrook, Shore Acres, Bel Air, Heights, Foothill and Peres schools.
"Dental disease is probably the most common health problem among school-aged children. Yet it is easily preventable," says Lynn Pilant, manager of the county's Seal in a Smile program. Brushing after meals, flossing at least once daily and using proper brushing and flossing techniques are the most basic ways to prevent tooth disease, and parents have a role in making sure children are doing this year-round.
Pilant says that dental sealants, which protect permanent molars from cavities and decay, are another important and very effective method of prevention. She says that in just the first six months of 2003 alone, Seal in a Smile provided more than 385 Contra Costa schoolchildren with free dental sealants.
In addition to the sealants, Pilant says the program provides dental cleanings, fluoride treatments, education about proper tooth care and hygiene, and referrals for dental treatment.
Pilant hopes to be able to sustain the success of Seal in a Smile for the second half of 2003. "Dental problems impact not just the well-being of young people but can also affect their attendance and performance in school," she says.
The program is funded by grants from the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Health Benefit Corporation and the East Bay Community Foundation. For more information about Seal in a Smile, contact Lynn Pilant at 925-313-6163.
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