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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Healthy Smiles Reception On Feb. 23

12:00AM / Tuesday, February 20, 2007

North Adams - Healthy Smiles, a program of the REACH Community Health Foundation, is sponsoring a dental health reception at Western Gateway Heritage State Park on Fri., February 23, from 1-3 p.m. in conjunction with National Children's Dental Health Month.

Healthy Smiles Program Manager Gita Jozsef will be on hand to talk to
parents and children about oral health. Jozsef will be able to answer questions about the sealant program in Northern Berkshire schools.

Children will receive a free toothbrush and floss, have a chance to participate in a coloring contest and animated shorts about dental health will run in the theater.

"You are not totally healthy unless your mouth is healthy, too," said
Jozsef. "Keeping your teeth, gums, and tongue healthy will improve your overall health."

Dental decay is the most chronic disease in the nation. If left untreated, dental decay can cause children and adults acute and chronic pain, impaired eating ability (leading to poor diet), speech difficulties, tooth loss and systemic infections that can affect their overall health.

In 2006, Healthy Smiles introduced a preventative component to its program: sealants. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings applied to the chewing areas of molars and premolars (back teeth) to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are safe, painless, and take only minutes for a dental health professional to apply. The sealants provide a physical barrier that keeps decay-causing bacteria from invading the pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth.

During the final months of 2006, Jozsef traveled to Brayton, Greylock and Sullivan elementary schools in North Adams and Cheshire and Savoy elementary schools to screen students. A total of 241 students received sealants.

In 2007, the Healthy Smiles program plans to go to C.T. Plunkett Elementary School in Adams, the Clarksburg Elementary School and Gabriel Abbott Memorial School in Florida.

The REACH Community Health Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) subsidiary of Northern Berkshire Healthcare. REACH organizes an array of initiatives in health education, treatment services, disease prevention, research, and advocacy.

REACH also offers runs programs in breast cancer, nutrition and fitness, tobacco cessation, caregiving, children's health, and men's health.

For more information, contact Gita Jozsef at (413) 664-5429.
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