by Rita Hooper
The “wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, the wheels on the bus go round and round all about the town!”
That’s how a good number of the children of Appalachia receive their dental care. The ToothBus, the size of a large mobile home, is staffed by volunteer dentists and dental assistants from Mission Children’s Dental, a part of Mission Children’s Hospital.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital soon found that tending to children’s oral health had vast benefits for their overall health.
Medicaid reimbursement to dentists is too low for dentists to be able to take many Medicaid patients. The ToothBus began operating 18 years ago.
Statistics from 2004 show that in the nation, there are 59 dentists per 100,000 people. In the distressed counties of Appalachia that number drops to four dentists per 100,000 people.
I wonder what the statistics are for Oswego County.
A recent study shows that North Carolina is one of five states that is failing in its efforts to prevent tooth decay. The ToothBus delivers convenient care to children who may have limited access to dental resources.
Each year, 500 to 600 children receive three to four visits from the ToothBus for regular dental check-ups, cleanings, sealant care and oral health education.
Since the bus began its travels, 7,500 children have received help and 20,000 visits have been made all across western NC working with the local school systems. This service is free and open to every child whether they are documented or not, receive Medicaid, have no insurance or parents can’t take the time off from work to take their children to the dentist.
They specialize in distraction techniques so that the child’s fears are lessened; the children also receive toothbrushes and a good dose of dental education. As one parent said, “I lost my teeth at 30 and I don’t want that to happen to my children.”
And so the “wheels on the bus continue to go round and round all about the town.”
Now to bring the story back to Hannibal: Once upon a time, Hannibal schools provided a dental hygienist for the students. As best we can figure, that service ended in the early 1970s due to budget cuts.
The last one in Hannibal was Mavis Nihoff, whose job it was to clean every students teeth once a year (1,400 students is the number I heard.) Her daughter, Kathy Gilbert said she used something that “tasted awful…maybe it was ashes!” If any of my readers would like to add to the story, please let me know!
Keep brushing and don’t forget to floss! Everyone has a right to a smile!
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Sterling Valley Community Church’s annual ice cream social will be today at 5 p.m. There will be food, including hot dogs, hamburgers, soda, ice cream and cake, popcorn and cotton candy. There will be a bake sale and lots of things for kids to do. The highlight of the evening will be music by the blue grass band “Different Brothers.”
Hannibal Senior Citizens will be meeting at noon for dinner. Come early for coffee and news or to work on the jigsaw puzzle or cards. Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation at 564-5471. This week’s menu is:
• Monday, July 15: Barbecue turkey on hamburger roll, au gratin potatoes, vegetable, and tropical fruit. Monday will also be hobby day.
• Wednesday, July 17: Hoffman hotdog on roll, baked beans, seasonal salad, juice, and cookie. Wednesday will also feature music with Deanna Hubbard and bingo after lunch.
• Friday, July 19: Goulash, Italian blend vegetables, juice, and pineapple tidbits. Friday is also game day.
The Jammers will meet at the American Legion Monday evening at 7 p.m. If you play an instrument or sing, blue-grass, country, or Gospel come on over and join the fun. Listeners are always welcome, too!
Summer reading at the library for children has begun. The sessions are Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10 to 11 a.m. for six weeks. This year’s theme is “Dig into Reading.” Remember children are great copiers; if mom and dad read, the odds are that children will too. Parents, check out what the library has in books that interest you!
Thursday, July 18, three will be a free concert, featuring Jeff Sawyer with Rick Bush, on the Hannibal Library lawn from 6 to 8 p.m. Friends of the Library will be serve ice-cream sundaes and the Elderberries will cook hot dogs and serve drinks. Come for supper or dessert. In case of rain, and we’ve had plenty of that, we’ll move everything to town hall.
An upcoming yard sale and bake sale to benefit Hannibal Home and School will be held at the Hannibal Library July 19 and 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All proceeds go to Hannibal Home and School.
The Hannibal Summer Recreation Program has begun its summer season at the Hannibal Town Hall Park and Pavilion. Hannibal students in grades K-4 are welcome. Parent supervision is required and siblings in grades 5 and 6 are welcome to participate. A free breakfast and lunch will be provided if ordered a day in advance at 806-9542). The day begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. The program will run for six weeks until Aug. 16. Registration is not required (but do call in advance for the meals) so children are free to miss a week to go on family vacation or whatever! Sounds like there are many interesting activities planned.
The Hannibal Resource Center has changed its hours. The center will no longer be open Thursday nights. They will continue to be open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will now be open Wednesday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. The center is located at Our Lady of the Rosary, across from the high school and is supported by the three village churches.
Your church or youth group can still have a booth at the SOS FEST July 19-21 at the Hannibal Fireman’s Field in Hannibal. Sell food, have a bake sale, set up games, activities, or mission display,; your group keeps all your money. Non-profit mission booths are free! Crafters and Vendors pay only a small fee. Those seeking more information may visit www.cabin3ministries.org.
The Hannibal Nursery School is celebrating their 40th year this upcoming 2013-2014 school year. July 27 from 10 a.m. to noon at the nursery school, 162 Oswego St., they will celebrate with games, crafts and face painting. If you or your children were involved in the Hannibal Nursery School, it would be a good time to come to the reunion. There will also be an opportunity to meet the new teachers. Enrollment is open for the 2013-2014 school year. They will also be having an open house Aug. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m.