February is National Children's Dental Health Month. Sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA), it is a good annual reminder to children, parents and caregivers of the importance of good oral health habits.
Columbia Memorial Hospital's mobile dental unit visits elementary schools in Greene and Columbia Counties providing oral care for all participating children. Children can receive an exam, digital x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, and if necessary, fillings and simple extractions by a licensed dentist and hygienist.
The dental unit visited Taconic Hills Elementary School from November through January this school year. 93 Taconic Hills Elementary Students participated in the program with the consent of their parents. Matthew Yarnis, DDS and Denise Hess, Registered Dental Hygenist (RDH), provide oral health care for students in a child friendly setting. Children are escorted to and from their classrooms for half hour appointments by dental assistant Ester Pavlovich. Each child receives a goody bag at the end of their visit with a toothbrush, toothpaste, coloring book and other oral care items.
Oral health education is also provided. Denise Hess, RDH visited the classrooms of Taconic Hills elementary students, providing oral health education to 550 students in all grade levels. Children learn the importance of brushing and flossing by watching Roo, a large Kangaroo puppet, brush and floss his teeth.
The dental unit also visited the Germantown Elementary School in September and is currently at the Walter B. Howard Elementary School in New Lebanon. The unit will move to Catskill Elementary School by the end of February.
Funding from the Foundation for Community Health allowed for all participating Taconic Hills Elementary students to be served at no cost to their families. Funding is also provided in part by the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Dental Health.
For more information, contact Jacqueline Goddeau, Dental Manager, The Columbia Memorial Mobile Dental Health Services, at 518 697-7892.
Caption: Taconic Hills Elementary School Students, (Caleb Dean, left, and Mark Spucches), in a photo montage, had exams by Matthew Yarnis, DDS on Columbia Memorial Hospital's Mobile Dental Services unit.