DESOTO, TX – About 180 first graders at two DeSoto elementary schools were presented with free prevent tooth decay kits in February. The project, called the Fantastic Teeth Fan Club, is a program of Masonic Children & Family Services (MCFS) to prevent children from suffering with toothaches, reduce missed school days due to dental problems, and cut costs for dental treatment.
James Cartwright, with DeSoto Masons Lodge #1409, organized the event. Lodge members assembled and delivered the kits to Northside and Woodridge elementary students in DeSoto.
Prevent tooth decay kits contain: toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, healthy teeth sticker, two minute timer (optimal brushing time), “Tips for Healthy Teeth At Any Age” educational flyer for parents in both English and Spanish, and a summary of MCFS services and grant opportunities.
According to Oral Health In America: A Report of the Surgeon General, tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease — five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Poor children are affected by this epidemic more frequently than other children, with nearly 12 times more restricted-activity days due to dental issues than children from higher-income families. A recent study from The Texas Kids Count Project showed more than 1.5 million Texas children living in poverty — another indicator of the great need for this type of program.
In addition, dental problems directly affect success for children, with more than 51 million school hours lost each year to dental-related illness. Teachers have judged both classroom performance and classroom behavior to be significantly poorer among children in need of dental care. Pain and suffering due to untreated dental disease can also lead to problems in eating and speaking.
Photo: Northside 5th grade photographer Klark Johnson takes group photo for school newsletter. Seated: District Nurse Rhonda Dalfonso, Mason James Cartwright. Standing: Northside School Nurse Gwen Scott, Masons Marvin Kresbach, Jim Ziemba, JR Smith, Curt DeWall, 4th grade reader Marcela Olivares.