Classroom visits have one goal: Smiles
Published: February 27, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Community dental outreach is taking place this week at local schools as Frederiksted Health Care joins the American Dental Association in recognizing February as National Children's Dental Health Month.
Jason Henry, Frederiksted Health Care spokesman, said this year's theme is "Get a Gold Medal Smile," and his organization has been collaborating with the V.I. Education Department to ensure that a number of local students receive a winning smile.
Dental hygienists and dental assistants from Frederiksted Health Care have been visiting several schools providing free dental screening, educational presentations and toothbrushes.
On Tuesday, dental hygienist Beth Pershinske and dental assistant Antonio Cruz took Mr. Chompers - a stuffed yellow dog with a winning smile - to visit a second-grade class at Juanita Gardine School and interacted with the students about how to care for their teeth.
Henry said teams visited Pearl B. Larsen School and Lew Muckle School last week and will be at Ricardo Richards School today with the presentations and screenings.
He said that during each of the school visits, Frederiksted Health Care staff will show kids the proper technique for flossing and brushing. Children who participate in the free screenings will receive an evaluation assessment to take home to their parents.
Dr. Talia Moses, Frederiksted Health Care's chief dental officer, said building good oral hygiene habits in children is key to achieving a lifetime of healthy smiles.
"Healthy smiles contribute to a person's overall health and self-esteem," she said. "With proper care, a balanced diet and regular dental visits, teeth can remain healthy and strong."
Moses also provided some general tips for ensuring the children acquire a gold medal smile.
Students should brush at least twice daily for two full minutes, floss every night and replace their toothbrushes every three months and after they have been sick, she said.
It also is important for them to eat healthy snacks and avoid soda; limit their intake of starchy and sugary foods; and visit the dentist every 6 months for check-ups, Moses said.
Henry said that as the outreach visits wrap up, Frederiksted Health Care today will celebrate its one-year anniversary of opening its dental services. Since opening their doors for dental services in 2012, the staff has seen about 3,070 patients, he said.
"Although we are happy with the number of patients we've seen, there is still a great need for dental service, and we are working to reduce a long waiting list in addition to meeting the general and emergency needs of the community," Henry said.
- Contact Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.