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LAWRENCE COUNTY SMILE SAVERS

March 29, 2011

Meeting Summary

  1. Welcome

Four members and one guest in attendance. Several potential members e-mailed prior to the meeting to say they could not attend.

  1. James Ellis presented partial results of the “LCHS Dental Health Survey” which has been completed in two of the three county middle schools. Blaine Middle School is preparing to make the survey available to their 8th grade students.

A total of 92 students have been surveyed and the results were surprisingly positive on the question regarding previous dental visits. 95.7% of students surveyed reported that they had seen a dentist at some point in their lives, and 80.4% indicated they had a dentist they usually go to. 18.5% of students responding indicated that they went to a dentist less than one time a year and 22.8% indicated that they did not have dental insurance. 50.1% of students answered that they have missed classes this school year due to dental visits or dental problems. Copies of the completed partial survey will be available at the next coalition meeting.

Complete results will be presented when all 8th grade students have taken the survey.

  1. During discussion of the planned dental program for the 9th grade students beginning in the fall, James Ellis suggested that a good point of contact with the parents of the students to be involved in the program would at the county-wide open house which will take place the third week of August, after the school year has begun. He suggested that we could present displays and perhaps even have a dentist or hygienist available to discuss the program or answer any questions. Another point of contact suggested by James was on registration day at the high school when the new 9th graders (our target group) would be signing up for classes and receiving information for the school year. It was the general agreement of the group that information “sent home” to the parents often did not reach the parents, and that personal contact would be the more successful avenue of parental notification.

James also suggested that we contact Mr. Cook, principal at LCHS to make him aware of the plans for the program, and to learn from him who the health teachers for the 2011-2012 school year will be in order to contact and make them aware of our proposed program.

It was also proposed by James that the school website could be used to present information about the proposed program.

Faith Frazier presented the idea of preparing a brochure on the projected program that might be handed out at events listed above, and it was felt by the group that this would be a good educational tool. Faith also suggested that the brochure might have a “tear-off” page that could be used to register for the program by students who had not previously indicated an interest therein.

  1. Carolyn McGinn and Pat Machir presented an offer from Dr. Charles Sammons to donate an in-school screening program for 3 days in conjunction with the Smile Savers goal of getting dental care for those children who might not otherwise be seen by a dentist. This proposal was made to Pat at the “Build Your Nest Babyfest” by Dr. Sammons, and it was hoped that perhaps other dentists in town would decide to donate some time to do the same. Carolyn and Pat propose to meet with Dr. Sammons to identify what procedures he has in mind for these visits, and will report back to the coalition when they have a solid proposal in hand.

  1. Announcement was made of the 2011 Kentucky Oral Health Summit to be held in Lexington on May 11. This meeting will present updates on Governor Beshear’s Oral Health Initiative and will feature the Arkansas State Dental Director as guest speaker. Work groups are planned for the afternoon with various pertinent subjects of interest to those who are desirous of improving Kentucky’s Oral Health. At the present time, Pat Machir is registered to attend and one other Health Department employee will attend. James Ellis suggested that it would be very helpful if a family resource coordinator and perhaps even a health teacher could attend this seminar also. This will be investigated.

 

It’s time to clear the air!  On April 14, the Lawrence County Health Department will host the Cooper Clayton Method to Stop Smoking, a twelve-week comprehensive program.  These workshops have been conducted all over Kentucky and have been very successful.

The Cooper/Clayton Method to Stop Smoking is an effective smoking cessation method which addresses all aspects of smoking.  The Method uses nicotine replacement products and provides twelve intensive education sessions and weekly support group meetings.

The method is successful because there is a long-term support group, the training is designed to achieve and maintain abstinence, and it uses proven nicotine replacement products.

Anyone interested in becoming a non-smoker is encouraged to attend the Cooper/Clayton Method to Stop Smoking workshop.  There is no charge for the class.  The only cost to the participant is for nicotine patches, which is $5.00 per box, which lasts for 14 days.  The group will meet for one hour, once a week.

The workshop will take place at the Lawrence County Health Department, beginning Thursday, April 14 at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Pat Machir or Carolyn McGinn at 606-638-4389.

 

Reflux or GERD?
When Heartburn Spells Trouble

Cartoon of an uncomfortable man covering his mouth.Cartoon of an uncomfortable man covering his mouth.

Most of us get heartburn from time to time. It may come as a burning sensation in the chest, or a bitter taste in the back of the throat. Heartburn is one word people use to describe reflux. It happens when stomach contents come back upwards. Reflux is sometimes painless: You may have trouble swallowing or get a dry cough, perhaps some wheezing.

Occasional reflux episodes are normal. Like millions of Americans, you can manage reflux by avoiding foods that don’t agree with you—things that are fatty, spicy or acidic—or by eating smaller meals. If reflux occurs less than once a week, you can usually cope by making lifestyle changes or using over-the-counter medications.

“We all have a little reflux when we burp or belch,” says Dr. John Pandolfino of Northwestern University. But of the 20 million or more Americans with reflux, about 5% have significant episodes 2 or 3 times per day. When severe events occur this often, it’s not ordinary reflux. It may be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). You may need prescription medications to control it.

GERD should be taken seriously. Stomach (gastric) contents contain acid needed to digest food. In reflux, these contents wash upward into the esophagus, a slender tube connecting the mouth and the stomach. Because the lining of the esophagus isn’t meant to touch gastric acid, the acid can irritate the lining of the esophagus and lead to bleeding and scarring. In adults, GERD can raise the risk of cancer of the esophagus. And if you have asthma, GERD can make it worse.

As for babies, reflux is common in healthy infants. Most babies outgrow reflux by 13 months, but if they don’t, they too may have GERD.

GERD can harm a child’s ability to feed and grow. It can also increase the risk for inhaling stomach contents into the lungs. This can be life-threatening.

People of any age can have GERD. Available medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription, can make the acid in the esophagus less intense. But medications don’t prevent GERD. Surgery can be an option if symptoms are severe and medicine and lifestyle changes don’t seem to help.

Dr. Michael Raymond Ruggieri, Sr., of Temple University is researching the root causes of GERD. The problem isn’t that the stomach makes too much acid. In GERD, the special set of muscles between the esophagus and the stomach is weakened.

“The stomach muscle fibers are not doing their job, and we’re trying to understand why they’re not,” says Dr. Ruggieri. His team is among the first to look at how nerves receive and send messages to these muscle fibers. Their goal is to develop drugs that prevent GERD altogether.

If you have reflux twice or more per week, talk to your health care provider. It’s best to start treatment early to prevent GERD from leading to more serious health problems.

 


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