SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health is working with dentists, dental hygienists and oral health advocates to provide free dental screenings on weekdays at the Illinois State Fair through Friday, Aug. 15.
“August is a good time to schedule dental exams for children before the school year begins,” IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. “Healthy teeth are an important part of overall health and we want every child in Illinois to have a healthy start to the new school year.”
Illinois law requires schoolchildren in kindergarten, second and sixth grades to have a dental examination – although yearly dental exams are encouraged for all schoolchildren.
Studies indicate a major reason for school absence is dental disease. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 51 million school hours are lost because of dental problems. Tooth decay is still the major cause of tooth loss in children.
“It is as important to keep baby teeth as clean, healthy and cavity-free as adult teeth. If baby teeth are lost too soon due to cavities, it can cause problems when it’s time for permanent teeth to move into the mouth,” IDPH Division of Oral Health Chief Dr. David Miller said. “Cavities are preventable. However, cavities left untreated can cause infections that can spread to the rest of the body and become life-threatening.”
Free dental screenings will be conducted by volunteer oral health professionals in the IDPH Wellness on Wheels mobile health van from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. during weekdays at the fair. The Wellness on Wheels van will be located in Happy Hollow, adjacent to the Illinois Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Proof of School Dental Examination Forms and Dental Examination Waiver Forms can be found on the IDPH website at http://www.idph.state.il.us/ under “Oral Health” or call the IDPH Division of Oral Health at (217) 785-4899.