The Registered Dental Hygienists employed at the Marshall County Health Department work in the Marshall County Schools, grades one through six, to educate and instruct the students on proper brushing technique. They supervise the students through a “brushing” exercise held in each classroom. This is done in conjunction with a dental health presentation, followed by an oral health assessment of each student. Flossing instructions are given to fifth graders during the presentation. Six graders receive additional training on what to do in the event of a dental emergency.
Dental Health Month
February is National Dental Childrens’ Health Month. Dental hygienists emphasize proper dental care, balanced diet and regular professional dental care. This program focuses on pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.
Early intervention is the key to prevention. Dental hygienists visit headstart, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms where they teach the benefits of good oral health habits. Children are instructed in the early development of tooth brushing and flossing techniques through demonstrations. Proper nutrition and regular visits to a dentist are also discussed.
Dental hygienists provide water test kits to families in order for them to check the level of fluoride in their drinking water.
Mouth Guard Program
Dental hygienists visit fourth grade classrooms to educate students on the importance of wearing mouth guards during certain physical activities to prevent oral and tooth injures. Classroom discussion is encouraged. Each student receives a mouth guard, along with instructions on the proper care of same.
Second Grade Dental Education Program
Second grade students are bussed to the health department for an educational program on oral health and nutrition. With parental permission, students receive a dental assessment, along with bite-wing x-rays to take home.
Smokeless Tobacco Program
Smokeless tobacco use is a major public health problem that can begin during childhood and adolescent years. Studies have shown that West Virginia has a high rate of tobacco usage. Early intervention is the key to prevention. Because youth experimentation with tobacco products begins among school age children, schools are targeted to promote awareness of oral health problems associated with smokeless tobacco usage.
Dental hygienists focus on grades kindergarten, first, fifth and sixth, using age appropriate material, to teach about health risks associated with smokeless tobacco usage.
Additional programs are presented to middle and high school students.