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Blandford students sink teeth into dental health

POSTED: March 4, 2010 11:08 p.m.
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Dr. Durham, Greta McCart and "Skip" entertain the kids while educating them on dental hygiene.

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In February, Blandford Elementary observed National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.

Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Blandford Elementary’s kindergarten and first grade classes celebrated Children’s Dental Health Month by hosting Dr. Tracy Durham, Greta McCart and “Skip.” Greta, who works in Dr. Durham’s office, also happens to be a talented ventriloquist and “Skip” has been her side kick for over 30 years.   

Dr. Durham, Greta and “Skip” entertained the children with a comic dental routine as well as informative dental care instruction. The students were spellbound by “Skip” and his antics.

Dr. Durham is a graduate of Effingham County High School, the University of North Carolina- Wilmington, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. She has been a general dentist in Savannah for 14 years with a focus on family and cosmetic dentistry. Her office is located in the “Dentistry at Godley Station” building in Pooler and can be reached at (912) 748-4494.

Greta and her husband Rev. Doug McCart live in Savannah, where he is the pastor of the Windsor Forest Baptist Church. Besides Greta’s skills as a ventriloquist, Doug is also a talented illusionist himself. They have performed on a variety of stages and shows, including “Sesame Street.“ The McCarts continue to perform at various events throughout the Southeast. If interested in booking a performance, contact Greta at (912) 682-9070.

Blandford’s school nurse displayed posters and a bulletin board promoting dental health. Student’s received classroom instruction and activities related to dental health as well.

The following dental health facts are from The Office of the Surgeon General.  
• More than 51 million school hours are lost each year because of dental-related illness.
• Tooth decay remains one of the most common diseases of childhood  — five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever.
• More than half of children aged 5-9 have had at least one cavity or filling; 78 percent of 17-year-olds have experienced tooth decay.
• By age 17, more than 7 percent of children have lost at least one permanent tooth to decay.  
• Injuries to children, intentional and non-intentional, often involve trauma to the head, neck, and mouth. The leading causes of oral and head injuries are sports, violence, falls and motor vehicle crashes.  
• Tobacco-related oral lesions are common in teenagers who use spit (smokeless) tobacco. The lesions occur in 35 percent of snuff users and 20 percent of chewing tobacco users.  
• Children from families without medical insurance are 2.5 times less likely than insured children to receive dental care. Children from families without dental insurance are three times more likely than insured children to have unmet dental needs. 

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