Free Dental Screenings

By: Jonathan Martin
By: Jonathan Martin

October 11, 2005
Area dentists stopped by several local elementary schools Tuesday to launch a program promoting healthy dental hygiene. The group also offered free dental screenings. News 12 is on your side to show you how they’re insuring a brighter smile for children living in low-income areas.

“I brush them, but not enough,” said Amish Williams.

“This teeth right here, it’s going to grow big,” said Charveas Ade.

For some children at Jenkins-White Elementary, it’s a big day and their first trip to the dentist. The teachers’ break room turned dental office for a day is providing students in low-income areas with a free dental checkup right at their school.

“Dentistry is about prevention and it’s our goal to come up with ways for children to have healthy teeth and healthy mouths,” said Carole Hanes, Dean at MCG.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease and that’s why Interim Mayor Willie Mays and Commissioner Marion Williams were both on hand helping launch a new partnership between ACS Healthcare Solutions, MCG and the Georgia Dental Society in hopes of making smiles brighter in Augusta.

Dental student Sharcola Vaughn remembers growing up in a low-income area, so now this program is more than practice for her career; it’s a labor of love.

“Now that I’m in dental school, it’s kind of like I can return the favor,” Vaughn said.

The children also participate in prevention based on seminars teaching them how to brush and how often, but by talking to these children, brushing is already a part of their daily routine.

“Night, day, and morning,” said Naaim Colbert.

“Ten times a day!” said Delvin Alexander.

But for some who don’t brush ten times a day, staying cavity-free is about the color of toothpaste. Just ask Anthony Turner.

“I got that red kind, my sister got blue, so the red kind is the best kind to use,” Anthony said.

And some of these children have never even been to the dentist before and not only do they leave with a toothbrush and toothpaste, but most importantly, they leave with an evaluation they can take home to their parents.

And the hope is that parents will use that evaluation to make choices for their child’s oral health for now and for the future. Choices that this second grader knows are important.

“If you don’t, some of your teeth will go away and you going to be snaggle tooth,” said Lucas Prince.

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