WVU Dentistry School Offers Free Exams for Children

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. –February is National Children’s Dental Health month and to celebrate, the West Virginia University School of Dentistry will offer free examinations and x-rays for children ages 3-17 on Friday, Feb. 4, in the school’s pediatric dentistry clinic, first floor, Health Sciences Center North. The free appointments are part of the annual “Give Kids a Smile!” national dental access program being promoted by the American Dental Association and the West Virginia Dental Association.

The May 2000 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health, states that a “silent epidemic of dental and oral disease” is affecting Americans. Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, and about 80 percent of pediatric dental disease is concentrated in 25 percent of children, primarily those from low-income and minority households. This problem is especially acute in West Virginia, where data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that over one third of West Virginia adults have lost six or more teeth due to decay or gum disease. This is almost twice the national average.

WVU School of Dentistry dental and dental hygiene students understand the implications of these statistics. In an effort to reverse these trends, they are conducting health education presentations to over one thousand school age children and young adults in Monongalia County during the month of February. Their message goes beyond basic brushing and flossing and focuses on how oral health is directly related to overall health. The presentations also include information on nutrition and health lifestyle choices.

“We are pleased to do our part in providing oral health care to children, especially those who are most in need,” said James J. Koelbl, D.D.S., M.S., dean of WVU School of Dentistry. “Dentists, dental hygienists and all members of the oral health care team in West Virginia have a long tradition of working to improve the oral health of citizens in the state, and we are pleased to be part of this effort.” To make an appointment for the free screenings and cleanings, please call (304) 293-0401.

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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