Thomasville-- Schools in Thomasville are taking part in an initiative to combat one of the most common diseases in children-- tooth decay. To help stop that, free dental screenings were offered to elementary pupils this morning.
This isn't a normal school day for first grader, Ameer Abaza. "They're checking our teeth." "We're checking to see how well he's been keeping them clean."
The screenings were free for students at Harper Elementary School in Thomasville-- sponsored by the ACS company in an effort to help underserved children.
"Unfortunately, many of them don't get to go to the dentist as much as they should. We're trying to identify the ones who have the biggest problems."
A process that starts with an educational video and a tooth brushing demonstration. From there, a dental record is started. "We're taking a mouth mirror and just doing a quick look into the mouth to see if there's any infection or any cavities, or if there's plaque."
He doesn't have any cavities. Everything looks good. He's been doing a good job of brushing." For students who don't, more than 51 million hours of school time are lost each year nationally. Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. "They'll get rotten and they'll be black and your mouth will have lots of odors."
"You might go to the dentist, you might get a needle, and take it out."
"Brush your teeth good because that will keep your teeth clean." A lesson these screenings have taught to more than five-thousand students in Georgia since last year.
Dental maintenance is an ongoing process with children that age. They were given a bag of dental supplies to take home to make sure they keep flossing and brushing.