Health district schedules monthly dental days

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Panhandle Health District is expanding their monthly dental day to all north Idaho counties for the month of November.

Dental days are offered for children ages 0 to 17 and for pregnant women. A dental hygienist will provide an oral health assessment, fluoride varnish, home dental supplies, and dental home referrals. Often these appointments cost the patient nothing.

“We accept uninsured, Idaho Smiles, and Pregnancy Medicaid patients,” said Tina Ghirarduzzi, health education specialist at Panhandle Health District. “We want to reduce any financial barriers to receiving proper dental care. The dental cleanings are about a $130 value and Medicaid covers the entire cost. For those without insurance, it is a $40 flat fee.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, severe mouth, teeth, and gum disease can affect a child’s growth and school performance. Research has shown a link to diabetes, heart and lung disease, stroke, respiratory illnesses, and pre-term, low-birth weight infants.

It’s important for pregnant women to take care of their oral health due to the increased chance of developing gum disease. Once the baby is born, parents can wipe the baby’s gums twice a day and beginning brushing as soon as teeth appear.

“It’s a common misconception that children don’t need to see a dentist until they are older,” said Ghirarduzzi. “In reality, it’s important that a child see a dentist prior to their first birthday. They can spot any early problem signs and prevent further damage.”

Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children who have poor dental health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t. The great news is that cavities are preventable! Brushing and flossing every day, using fluoride, and visiting the dentist regularly will create a lifetime of dental protection.

In Sandpoint, the day is Wednesday, Nov. 13. To schedule an appointment, call 208-263-5159.

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