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Dental clinic receives grant

Contributed

The Stanly County Dental Clinic has been awarded a two-year Duke Endowment grant to expand its school-based oral health program.

The clinic will receive $95,000 the first year and $35,000 the second year to “provide preventive and treatment services to sixth- and seventh-grade students enrolled in the Stanly County schools,” according to Dave Jenkins, health and human services director.

These services include a dental screening, sealants/cleaning, fluoride varnish, oral hygiene education and oral hygiene supplies. All sixth- and seventh-grade students are eligible to receive these services if their parents or guardians provide written permission.

Dr. Mindy Turner, pediatric dentist, and the Stanly County Dental Clinic staff will provide these oral health services beginning in the next school year.

“Oral health plays a very important role in the overall health of youth and their ability to achieve their academic potential,” Turner said. “Poor oral health results in pain from cavities and abscesses which negatively impacts the overall health of youth and impedes their ability to focus on their studies.”

This Duke Endowment grant is building on previous grants received by the Stanly County Dental Clinic.

Previous Duke grants provided funds to establish school-based oral health services for children in second and third grades. Since its inception, 1,463 second and third graders have received these oral health services.

“Providing school-based oral health services has proven to be very beneficial to our elementary school children in reducing cavities. We expect similar positive results with our middle school students,” Turner said. “However it is important to note that we not only provide preventive treatment — we provide oral health education, so they learn how to brush and floss their teeth to maintain good oral health. For those students needing more extensive dental treatment, the Stanly County Dental Clinic serves as a referral source.”

Dental clinic staff said the support of the Stanly County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff James and the Stanly County School Board is vital to the success of these school-based oral health programs.

School nurses also organize the paperwork and scheduling to help this program run in their assigned schools.

“Our staff is dedicated to serving the people of Stanly County and helping them achieve optimal health,” Jenkins said. “We are pleased to work with the Duke Endowment and the Stanly County Schools to provide our youth the best opportunity to grow to be healthy, educated adults.”

For more on the Health Department, visit health. stanlycountync.gov/.