(February 24, 2015)
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month – a month dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of oral health.
Dental care is one of the top unmet health needs for Ohio children. If left untreated, oral diseases can impact productivity, increase oral health care costs, and decrease overall health.
For more than a decade, The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio (HPF-Ohio) has invested in multiple strategies for improving oral health and removing barriers to dental care for low-income and other vulnerable Ohioans, especially children. One initiative that HPF-Ohio has provided funding for is the Manchester School-Based Health Center Dental Project, which funds dental services for the students at Manchester schools in Adams County, Ohio.
As part of the program, the Adams County Medical Foundation partnered with Dr. Lesia Langston McKenna to provide dental appointments for children who were identified by the school nurse as having at least two cavities. To date, more than 50 children have received dental care.
Upon visiting Dr. McKenna, most of the children had more extensive problems than just the cavities. Several children even had life threatening issues.
One of the recent patients, a five year old boy, had to have 12 of his 15 baby teeth pulled. After the teeth were pulled, he felt so much better. The teachers reported that he ate five plates of pancakes the next morning at the school breakfast.
“Parents should become aware of how important dental care is to their children,” said Sherry Stout, representative of the Adams County Medical Foundation. “Usually, dental care is the last thing people do for themselves and their families. Many families don’t have dental insurance and will go to the dentist only if they have the extra money.” Stout said that without the funding from HPF-Ohio, most of the students wouldn’t have received this much needed care.
For more information about the program, call the Manchester Local School District at (937) 549-4777.