#Michigan: Fluoride program supports students’ dental health (via www.uppermichiganssource.com)

27 Jan

school fluoride

With many across the Upper Peninsula living in rural communities, fluoridated water is limited. That means those teeth are more likely to decay, but fluoride is one way of preventing this.

“What it does is it helps prevent tooth decay,” said Marquette County Health Department’s Rebecca Manio. “So our hope is in the Upper Peninsula to help reduce the incidence of tooth decay in our students.”

In order to do this the Marquette County Health Department started the Fluoride Mouth Rinse Program.

“Children need good oral health, they need good dental health,” said Maino. “They need their baby teeth in place healthy to reserve the space for the permanent teeth coming in otherwise the teeth can come in crowded and they can lose that space. There are a lot of reasons why they need good dental health.”

The Fluoride Mouth Rinse Program has been in some Marquette County schools since the 1970’s. Students get 10 milliliters of flavored fluoride weekly and swish it around for about a minute.

“It’s pretty quick and efficient,” said Maino. “Once they get into a routine it really doesn’t take that long.”

“You just have to swish,” said Ava Jo Hares a first grader at Birchview. “And I like doing it.”

Parents have to consent for their child to receive fluoride and currently about 80 percent do so.

“I will sign it for him next year and I will be relieved to know that I won’t have to worry so much about him getting cavities,” explained Annette Cornish a parent.

“The studies with the American Dental Association have seen about a thirty percent reduction in tooth decay where students are doing this program throughout the school year on a weekly basis,” said Maino.

Because of this success the Superior Health Foundation has created the U.P. Wide Smiles grant to make the program available to schools across the U.P. if they so choose.

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