WVU School of Dentistry to Offer Free Children’s Dental Exams Feb. 2

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.  To celebrate, the West Virginia University School of Dentistry will offer free examinations and oral health care education to children ages 3-17 from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, in the pediatric dentistry clinic. The free appointments are part of the annual “Give Kids a Smile!” national dental access program of the American Dental Association and the West Virginia Dental Association.

To make an appointment for the free exam, call 293-0401. Spaces are limited and an appointment is required.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for area residents to come and visit our pediatric dentistry clinic and learn of the services we can provide for children,” said James J. Koelbl, D.D.S., M.S., dean of WVU School of Dentistry.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health states that nearly 1 in 6 children over age 5 has a cavity, and by age 17, nearly 8 in 10 have dental decay.  Dental problems result in nearly 51 million hours of missed school time each year.  Complications arising from untreated diseases of the mouth can lead to problems in eating, speaking and learning.   

This problem is especially acute in West Virginia.  More than one third of West Virginia adults have lost six or more teeth as a result of decay or gum disease.  This is almost twice the national average.  A 1997-98 survey of decayed, missing and filled teeth revealed that 68 percent of children in West Virginia had tooth decay by the age of 8 and 37.5 percent had untreated decay. 

“These numbers are of concern to us, which is one of the reasons we want to educate children and their parents on the importance of good oral health care,” said Koelbl. “The profession of dentistry in West Virginia has a long tradition of working to improve the oral health of citizens of the state.  We are pleased to be a part of this effort.”

Last year, the WVU School of Dentistry provided free exams to approximately 100 area children as part of the “Give Kids a Smile!” program.

- WVU -

For more information:
Stacy Wise, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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