Gurga to provide HOPE
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Dr. Lee Gurga from Apple Dental Center has agreed
to volunteer one Friday afternoon a month for adolescent preventive
oral health services on the Healthy Communities Partnership's HOPE
Mobile. The acronym for the mobile unit represents health care, oral
health, prevention and education. Gurga, along with Dr. Julio
Morales, will provide the initial dental exam prior to the dental
hygienist's essential preventive oral health services.
This service is a
collaborative effort of Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, the Logan
County Health Department and the Family Medical Center in Lincoln.
In July 2005,
Public Act 093-0946 was enacted, stating that every
kindergartner, second-grader and sixth-grader must have an oral
health examination: "Each of these children shall present proof of
having been examined by a dentist in accordance with this Section
and rules adopted under this Section before May 15th of the school
year. If a child in the second or sixth grade fails to present proof
by May 15th, the school may hold the child's report card."
The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
indicates that children from families with lower incomes have nearly
12 times as many days of missed school because of dental problems as
do children from families with higher incomes. Poor oral health has
been related to decreased school performance, poor social
relationships and diminished success later in life for children and
adolescents. Children sensing pain are distracted and unable to
concentrate on schoolwork. Diseases of the mouth continue to be the
No. 1 chronic childhood disease, with the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention citing associations between oral infections
and diabetes, heart disease, stroke and preterm, low-weight births.
Lifelong consequences of inadequate oral health care in childhood
can present later in life as increased risk of heart disease and
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HOPE Mobile currently travels to Lincoln, Chestnut, Mount
Pulaski, New Holland, Middletown, Elkhart, Atlanta, Latham, Broadwell, Hartsburg and Emden. Patients with Medicaid and Illinois
All Kids coverage and the underinsured are accepted on a sliding
Preventive dental appointments are currently being accepted
through the Logan County Health Department by calling 735-2317.
Communities Partnership news release]