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Your Views: Dentists, thank you for giving local students a day to smile
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On behalf of Hall County School System, I would like to thank Dr. Ryan Vaughn for his outstanding efforts in coordinating Give Kids a Smile Day. More than 100 students received dental care ranging from tooth extractions to cleanings due to his efforts.

Tooth decay is the No. 1 chronic disease among children. The 2007 Georgia Dental Survey reported more than 56 percent of Georgia's third graders had decayed teeth.

There were approximately 60,000 emergency room visits to Georgia hospitals in 2007 for nontraumatic dental problems costing more than $23 million. I think we can all agree that ER care is not the most cost efficient delivery of dental services.

When it comes to dental care, an ounce of prevention is worth not just a pound of cure, but a ton. This is even more evident during tough economic times when putting food on the table takes precedence over dental (especially preventive) care.

Hall County school nurses see how untreated dental problems directly affect school attendance and academic performance and are very appreciative of Dr. Vaughn and the volunteers for the care they provided.

Hall County is fortunate to have private providers and others such as Good News Clinics and Hall County Health Department. However, the need in our area is much greater than the current services available.

The saying goes: Smile, it increases your face value. For the smiling students in Hall County, Give Kids a Smile Day was priceless. Thank you.

Mamie Coker
Health Services Coordinator, Hall County Schools, Gainesville