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Dental health helps children learn

To the Editor:

Since 1963, Blue Ridge Health (BRH) has provided essential healthcare to residents with the greatest need in Western North Carolina (WNC). This care includes dental services for our youngest community members. Since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, I want to highlight an important partnership between BRH and the Dogwood Health Trust. BRH recently received a grant from Dogwood to restart our mobile dental clinic after a temporary COVID-19 grounding. The grant will be used to provide dental services in the rural counties we serve throughout Western North Carolina. 

As a region, WNC has a rate of childhood caries that is 10% higher than the state average of similar aged children. By no fault of their own, children with dental caries are more likely to fall behind their peers when reaching academic and social milestones. We have to do better. To this end, our mobile dental clinic is equipped to effectively educate and treat pediatric patients throughout the region. Our goal is to help WNC children achieve oral health that all children deserve. 

We accept Medicaid and private insurance as well as patients without insurance who pay on a sliding scale based on their income. No patient is turned away for inability to pay. In addition to adults, the grant we received will help us further our mission to expand these dental services to more children in our service area. We are enormously grateful to the Dogwood Health Trust for their support of our important work. 

Ben Cozart, DDS 

(Dr. Cozart is Dental Director at Blue Ridge Health, and serves on the WNC Oral Health Collaborative and the UNC Adams School of Dentistry Alumni Board.)

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