02/15/09 — WCPS participates in sealant program

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WCPS participates in sealant program

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 15, 2009 2:00 AM

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Dr. Brooke Bundy, DDS, demonstrates the proper way to brush teeth to second-grade students during a recent visit to Meadow Lane Elementary School.

Dozens of students from Brogden Primary and Meadow Lane Elementary schools were the beneficiaries of a dental sealant program recently.

Volunteers from the North Carolina Health Section, Wayne County Dental Society, Wayne Community College -- including dentists, hygienists and students -- placed dental sealants on second-grade students chosen to participate. By the project's end, thousands of dollars worth of free dental sealants will be placed on about 90 children.

The Wayne County Dental Society has sponsored this project since the mid-90s. Dental professionals schedule the project in February each year in observance of Children's Dental Health Month.

Lynne Fulghum, a public health dental hygienist who serves the Wayne County area, says the clinic is designed to increase public awareness and the use of dental sealants as a preventative procedure. Dental sealants, along with the proper use of fluoride, will protect children's teeth from tooth decay.

"Sealants are important because 25 percent of North Carolina kindergarten students start school with obvious decay," she said. "We hope to educate students and parents about the importance of protecting your teeth. Decay is the single most untreated disease in children."

Sealants are also beneficial to children when their first and second molars erupt at about 6 and 12 years of age. The plastic coating is placed on the chewing surfaces of back teeth. These surfaces accumulate bacterial plaque, which causes tooth decay. Sealants last five to 10 years and often much longer.

Selection of recipients are based on physical need and parental permission, not on family income, officials said.

"We are very appreciative of this annual donation to our students," said Dr. Steven Taylor, schools superintendent. "Our schools work daily to promote healthy lifestyles."