By Portia Williams
GREENUP, Ky. — The Greenup County Health Department will offer free dental varnishing applications to all Greenup County students in grades one through five. According to GCHD, this was made possible through a grant provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Kentucky Oral Health Program
The program- called Smiling Schools- is part of the Healthy Smiles Kentucky initiative. About 18,000 children in 40 counties will be eligible for the free dental varnish treatment for their teeth.
Connie Wilburn, nurse administrator at the Health Department said, Kentucky ranks highest in tooth loss.
“Kentucky ranks the highest in tooth loss in the United States with one in ten Kentuckians missing all off their teeth,” Wilburn said. “With tooth decay, prevention is best and can start as soon as your child has their first tooth.” Children as young as ten months can get cavities or holes in their teeth. Cavities can be painful and prevent children from chewing, speaking, sleeping, and learning.”
According to GCHD, trained nurses at the health department will look at each child’s teeth and apply fluoride varnish as needed. Children will receive a toothbrush and information about good oral health. Parents and guardians will receive written take-home findings and referral for dental care as needed.
Fluoride varnish is a paste that is painted on teeth with a very small brush. It can prevent new cavities from happening and can help stop cavities that have just started. Varnish has been used safely for over 25 years and is quick and easy to apply. Dental Varnish should be applied at least two times a year to keep teeth healthy and can be applied up to six times a year.
GCHD health officials said all children should continue their regularly scheduled appointments with a dental care provider, dental varnish has positive results, as the Smiling Schools program is not a complete dental exam’s.
To receive the free service, each child must have a completed from signed by their parent or guardian. These forms can be obtained from the school or the Greenup County Health Department.
For more information, please contact the Health Department at 606-473-9838.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.