Seal-A-Smile program kicks off in Beloit

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BELOIT­­­- Seal-A-Smile kicked off in Beloit last week to provide oral health education and care to students in School District of Beloit.

The Beloit Area Community Health Center (BACHC) is providing dental assessments, sealants and fluoride varnish to students at no cost to families. Cori Tucker, dental manager at BACHC, said all students in the district are eligible, from 4k up to 12th graders.

Tucker said the clinic is especially trying to target more young students to participate in the program. She said that way, the students can learn more about dental care, and any anxiety about going to the dentist can be eased.

"A lot of kids have grown up with us, because we see them every year," Tucker said.

Dental sealants help prevent 80 percent of cavities in back teeth, where 9 in 10 cavities occur. In Wisconsin, 1 in 5 children in third grade have untreated dental disease which is preventable.

"That is why applying a sealant to the teeth of the children in the Beloit School District is so important," Tucker said.

She said that by applying sealants at the school, students do not miss out on classroom learning time traveling to the dentist. Sealants also help prevent cavities which can cause pain and discomfort which makes eating or concentrating in class difficult, she said.

Last year, 1,539 students of the School District of Beloit participated in the program; 275 cases of early decay were detected and there 444 referrals were made, said Michelle Babilius, the district's director of school health services.

"The Seal-A-Smile program with BACHC has been a great resource to the students in the Beloit School District," Babilius said. "Their dentists and hygienists do a wonderful job ensuring our students receive good oral health care at no cost."

Tucker said BACHC is hoping to serve even more students this year.

"What great relationship with have with school district," Tucker said. "We work really well together to make this project succeed for the children."

Parents can sign students up at sealasmile.wisconsin.gov/consent.

Seal-A-Smile is funded by the Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile program, a collaborative program of Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Delta Dental of Wisconsin.

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