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Many children across the country have untreated cavities and other dental health problems that can interfere with their learning. Some schools have educational programs to help students learn the importance of dental hygiene, but these efforts can do little to help a student who has no access to dentists.
The Florence Avenue Elementary School in Irvington New Jersey recently launched a program that combined education with visits from a local dentist to give all the students of the school annual screenings to notify parents if their children have cavities.
This program is in addition to stronger education efforts that included handing out toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as educational books and DVDs.
Principal James Washington told NJ.com that recent surveys of the school's students showed that many children were not seeing a dentist regularly, which meant that untreated problems were left to interfere with their learning.
"In many cases, families were unable to take their children to the dentist once every two years, let alone every six months as recommended," he told the news source. "Students need to be in optimal health to learn to their potential. Poor health care can dramatically affect their educational growth."
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that 22.9 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have some form of untreated dental decay.
The American Dental Association says that education is a key component of proper dental hygiene.
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