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Wood County Getting Dental Health Grant Money

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UPDATE: 10/23/13 10:41AM

They're all smiles, as the West Virginia Oral Health Program is getting a $1.5 million federal grant.

"Dental sealants are the number two public health preventive measure to prevent dental decay right after public water fluoridation and that's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” says Mary Beth Shea, oral health coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department. “We've had a program in place in Wood County now for five years."

It's about raising a better next generation.

"From a health point, it's about teaching kids how to take care of their teeth and take care of their health so that later they don't have a lot of problems and a lot of costs,” says Parkersburg dentist Dr. Wayne Dunn.

Children who receive sealants can sometimes avoid dental decay for five to seven years.

"It does not take the place of brushing and flossing and regular dental care but it's another tool we have to try to prevent dental disease in children,” Shea says.

Where is the money going?

According to Dunn, they don't know if it will be to the individual practices and the kids.

“But I doubt that,” he says. “It will probably go to the health department and be given to the health department to distribute as they can and as they already are."

Everyone can benefit.

"Twenty three pilot programs going on around the state and as you know we have 55 counties, so there's a lot of room for expansion,” Shea says.

Starting with the kids at school just makes sense.

"It's actually better because we have more control in a sense, more availability – of the kids at school then we do if we have to go to their homes or go to dental offices,” Dunn says.

Happiness is a healthy smile.

Dunn says it's a well designed program and “hopefully this money will go to the health department.”

West Virginia leads the nation in many poor health indicators.

"We're very high with our adult population that has lost some or all of their natural teeth,” Shea says. “We want to help adults as well, but targeting the children and trying to prevent disease is always more cost affective and better than having to treat disease once it occurs."

From local dental providers to community partners to the State Department of Education, many groups are working on the Oral Health Program.

The grant rolls out after the first of the year.

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West Virginia's dental health program is getting a federal grant and Wood County is set to benefit.

The $1.5 million grant from the CDC will be spread out over five years.

It will provide preventive dental health services throughout school-based settings.

Mary Beth Shea, oral health coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department says she doesn't know exactly how much we'll receive but it's a step in the right direction to combat the epidemic problem here at home.

"Dental sealants are the number two public health preventive measure to prevent dental decay right after public water fluorination, and that's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," she says. "So we've had a program in place in Wood County now for five years."

According to Shea, the acquiring of a large state grant is going to allow for expansion all over the state.

Currently the health department has 23 dental pilot programs and with 55 counties, there's a lot of room to do more.

The grant rolls out after the first of the year.


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