Dental care comes to Roseburg kids

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- For some local kids, a trip to the dentist got a whole lot easier.

All it took was going to school.

Dental health and tooth decay is a big issue for children across Douglas County.

The Healthy Kids Outreach Program travels to local schools to screen and educate kindergarten through sixth grade students.

Kim Ball, the dental liaison for the Mercy Foundation, says the need for dental care for the area youth is great. "Three years ago they found that the rural areas in Douglas County had a real, real problem with decay," she said.

Ball says once kids are over the initial fear, they actually seem to enjoy it. "They'll go straight from the learning lab, learning how to brush and floss and learning about fluoride varnish, to sit right in our clinical chairs smiling and happy and enjoy having their teeth checked."

The program is free for students, it just takes some paper work on the parent's end. "We have actually been able to help a child that was in school with a toothache, with an abscess tooth, by doing these screenings we actually got them into a dentist that day and got the child out of pain."

Ball says this is the third year for the program, and with community support it continues to grow.