From the Harford County Health Department:
In observance of National Dental Hygiene Month, Maryland Secretary of Health, Mr. Van Mitchell, will visit Harford County in conjunction with a Dental Sealant event hosted by the Harford County Health Department on Tuesday October 27th at 1:30p at William Paca / Old Post Road Elementary School.
Secretary Mitchell will be joined by Dr. Harry Goodman, Director of the DHMH Office of Oral Health, Harford County Executive, Barry Glassman, and Harford County Council President, Richard Slutzky. Also in attendance will be Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Jean Mantegna, representing School Superintendent Barbara Canavan, and Mary Nasuta, R.N., Nurse Coordinator, as well as County Health Officer, Susan Kelly, Deputy Health Officer, Dr. Russell Moy, Director of Administration, Marcy Austin, and Dental Outreach Coordinator, Katy Battani.
Beginning in August 2014, the Harford County Health Department Dental Program launched a school-based Dental Sealant Program that provides dental screenings, dental sealants, fluoride treatments, oral health education, referrals, and case management services to HCPS 2nd and 3rd graders in Title I schools.
Research shows that the combination of fluoride and dental sealants are the most effective means to prevent tooth decay. The value of dental sealants is that they can be applied into the tiny depressions and grooves on the biting surfaces of permanent molar teeth where toothbrush bristles cannot reach. They are simply painted onto the tooth enamel, where they bond directly to the tooth and harden, “sealing out” plaque and food from cavity-vulnerable areas.
In FY15 from July, 2014 through June 2015, the Dental Sealant Program, supported by grants from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Oral Health, completed 655 dental screenings and provided 526 fluoride varnish treatments. An additional 1,488 dental sealants were applied on 451 public school students.
Of those 655 students screened, 37% had untreated tooth decay and one in three were determined to have urgent dental needs. Prior to the Dental Sealant Program, only 34% of these youth had dental sealants. “As a result of this very successful initiative, more than 60% of these young people now have sealants and are better protected against tooth decay. By targeting children who do not have dental homes, we are then able to provide easier access to dental services for these children by first coming to their school,” comments Dr. Harry Goodman.
Now in its 8th year of operation, the Health Department’s Dental Clinic, located at 2204 Hanson Road in the Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center in Edgewood, provides comprehensive dental services to children and pregnant women with Medical Assistance. Since opening its doors, the facility and its staff have recorded almost 50,000 visits in responding to the oral health care needs of nearly 8,000 patients. The clinic provides general and preventive dental care including cleanings, oral examinations, fluoride treatments, fillings and sealants. So far in 2015 alone, they have completed over 4,200 clinical visits.
Health Officer, Susan Kelly states, “As a result of opening our dental health clinic on March 31, 2008, the Health Department offers dental services to children who may never before have had a dental exam. A healthy mouth is important for overall health since cavities can cause children pain and serious health problems and poor oral health in childhood can cause problems with eating, speaking, and learning.”
The Health Department also operates a Dental Outreach Program that includes a school-based Dental Screening/Fluoride Program for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) and provides a similar program in the Health Department’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) sites located in Edgewood and Elkton.
For more information about Harford County’s public health dental clinic or to schedule an appointment, please call (443) 922-7670 or visit the Health Department’s website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com.