Head Start students in Valdosta receive free oral health screeni - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Head Start students in Valdosta receive free oral health screening

Carol Smith Carol Smith

Oral hygienists from the Georgia Department of Public Health examined the teeth of some of the students at one of the Head Start centers in Valdosta Tuesday morning to get a better understanding of the level of oral health and oral health awareness in the area.

"Whether they have decay, whether they have fillings and their decay has been takin' care of, whether they have rampant decay which means more than seven teeth are involved," said Carol Smith, oral health director for the Department of Public Health, as she explained what they were looking for.

The same study will be conducted at 20 other head start centers across the state in both rural and urban areas and then compiled to get a general idea of the level of oral health among young children across the state. Smith said it has been about five years since the last study was conducted.

"We know that the state of Georgia has grown in population size, it's gotten more diverse, and we wanna see what all that plays into the oral health status of very young children," said Smith.

But not all parents agreed to have their kids' teeth examined, so Smith reminded parents of some things they can do at home to help increase their children's oral health. "We recommend you must brush your child's teeth up until the age of seven completely, every day, twice a day," Smith emphasized. "It makes a huge difference. And, when we get that message across in communities, we absolutely see a lower rate of decay."

And that's something both the kids and the oral hygienists can smile about.

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