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Dentists from KCU Joplin visit elementary school to teach the importance of good oral hygiene

According to the CDC, among adolescents aged 12 to 19, more than half (57%) have had a cavity in their permanent teeth. Among adults aged 20 and older, about 90% have had at least one cavity. 1 in 4 adults aged 20 to 64 currently has at least one cavity.

Doctors from Kansas City University Joplin College of Dental Medicine visited Irving Middle School in Joplin Friday to teach about the importance of good oral habits early in life. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

Even before the pandemic, the number of dentists and dental assistants was inadequate throughout the US. According to the Health Policy Institute at the American Dental Association, 40% of dental practices nationwide report having open positions.

Among practices with openings, 90% report finding workers challenging. Due to the shortage, it’s even more important to learn good oral hygiene practices early in life. KCU Joplin’s College of Dental Medicine’s Dr. Erinne Kennedy gave a presentation, “Show Me What Makes You Smile,” to eager 4 and 5 graders at Irving Elementary on Friday.

So the purpose of the visit here to Irving is to set these students up for success. We’re going to talk about oral health behaviors. We are going to talk about how to brush, how to floss, what foods help feed, feed the good bacteria in your mouth, and make you healthy.”

February isNational Children Dental Month, when dentists reinforce brushing twice daily, flossing daily, eating healthy and limiting sugars, and going to the dentist at least twice a year. For 89 9 KRPS, I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro

Since 2017 Fred Fletcher-Fierro has driven up Highway 171 through thunderstorms, downpours, snow, and ice storms to host KRPS’s Morning Edition. He’s also a daily reporter for the station, covering city government, elections, public safety, arts, entertainment, culture, sports and more. Fred has also spearheaded and overseen a sea change in programming for KRPS from a legacy classical station to one that airs a balance of classical, news, jazz, and cultural programming that better reflects the diverse audience of the Four States. For over two months in the fall of 2022 he worked remotely with NPR staff to relaunch to an NPR style news and information website.
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