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FirstHealth Bringing Dental Care to Preschoolers in Moore and Montgomery County
| Date Posted: 5/9/2023
SOUTHERN PINES — The FirstHealth portable school-based oral health program was established with funding from The Duke Endowment in October 2022 at six elementary schools in Montgomery County to address oral health disparities in youth.
In the first two months of the program, more than 135 students received preventative dental services from FirstHealth’s portable dental care team.
FirstHealth of the Carolinas is now expanding its portable school-based oral health program to reach preschool children in Moore and Montgomery counties. Funded by a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, the program will deliver dental care services to low-income preschool-age children in day care centers and Head Start programs.
Sharon Nicholson Harrell, DDS, MPH, FAGD, director of FirstHealth Dental Care, said the team is grateful for support from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation to expand the program to provide much-needed dental care to a younger population.
“Our goal at FirstHealth Dental Care has always been to improve access to high-quality dental care for underserved children in our community,” explained Dr. Harrell. “By bringing dental care services directly to day care centers and Head Start programs, we are removing barriers such as transportation or time off of work for working parents to make sure young children receive vital dental care.”
According to the American Dental Association, a child should visit the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth or by age one. “Early examination and preventative dental care is critical not only for oral health but for overall health as well,” added Dr. Harrell.
Services available through the portable dental program include:
- SDF (silver diamine fluoride)
About FirstHealth Dental Care
Since 1998, FirstHealth Dental Care has provided care to more than 30,000 underserved children in Moore and Montgomery counties. The dentists and staff at FirstHealth Dental Care provide care for children from birth to 21 years who receive Medicaid, Health Choice or are uninsured and qualify by income level.