Friday, November 21, 2008

New program to improve oral health in economically distressed counties in West Virginia

Marshall University is starting a program to improve the dental health of children in rural West Virginia. "The program hopes to award 15-20 grants and is expected to serve about 7,500 children the first year, with a priority for sealants that prevent cavities," writes Bill Rosenberger of the Herald-Dispatch in Huntington. "Parents and community members at large also will have the opportunity to avail themselves of the preventive services."

The program is focused on counties designated as economically distressed by the Appalachian Regional Commission. Richard Crespo, professor of community health at the Rural Health Center, told Rosenberger that selected communities and schools will get money to buy portable dental equipment and pay for support, planning and coordination of the program. (Read more) By some measures, West Virginia has the worst oral health in the nation. In Kentucky, which is worst by other measures, dental decay is the No.1 source of infectious disease in children and dental pain is the most common reason cited for children missing school. As reported here, dental health is a major health concern for many rural children in other states.

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