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Oral Health

The mission of Georgia’s Public Health, Oral Health Division, is to prevent dental disease for Georgia’s children through education, prevention and early treatment. The most common dental problems that children have are dental cavities and gum disease. Early treatment can prevent pain and infection. The Oral Health Department includes the following programs, which are geared towards our mission: school based dental prevention; school based fluoride mouth rinse program; and Dougherty County Dental Clinic.

School based dental prevention - Reaching Georgia's Children Where They Learn

A dental team, which includes a Dentist and Hygienist, brings a fully equipped mobile dental clinic to Southwest Georgia's elementary schools. The school-based program focuses on low-income children on Medicaid or without dental insurance and those who just simply do not have access to a dentist. Preventive treatments included in this program are: Examinations, Dental Cleanings, Sealants and Fluoride Treatments. The children are also examined for need of specific dental treatments including fillings and extractions, with first priority on emergency dental services, which is also provided at the school.  Referrals are also given for dental treatments as necessary.

School based fluoride mouth rinse program

Fluoride is used to strengthen the tooth's enamel against decay. Early treatment with fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.  This is a program in which the Dental Hygienist visits county schools once a week for each selected school. In coordination which the teachers, the Hygienist oversees the students rinsing with fluoride.  Our fluoride rinse program is directed towards children who have a high caries rate, no fluorinated water supply or lack other adequate sources of fluoride.

Head Start, Pre-K and Kindergarten-based Fluoride Varnish Program

Fluoride varnish is a protective coating painted on the teeth to help prevent new cavities and to help stop cavities that have already started. The fluoride varnish is safe and can be used in children from the time they have their first tooth. Only a small amount of fluoride is used. The fluoride coating will work best if it is painted on the teeth three to four times a year, but applying the fluoride varnish twice a year has been shown to be sufficient.

Why do we recommend putting fluoride varnish on children’s teeth? Tooth decay is one of the most common preventable diseases seen in children. Children as young as 1 to 2 years old can get cavities. Cavities in baby teeth and early adult teeth can cause pain and even prevent children from being able to eat, speak, sleep and learn properly. Children do not lose their last baby teeth until they are 12 to 13 years old.

Tooth Tips

0-6 months

Do not start the habit of putting your baby to sleep with a bottle in his/her mouth. Wipe his/her mouth with a warm cloth after every feeding. Do not start the habit of giving your baby food/pacifiers that have been in your mouth.

6 months and older

When the first tooth appears, wipe with a clean, soft cloth. As more teeth come in, begin brushing twice a day with a soft toothbrush and water.

Your child should visit the dentist for the first time after six months of age and continue visits to the dentist twice a year.

1 year old

Brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush and water. It is time to put the bottle away and begin drinking from a cup. Do not put your child to sleep with a sippy cup filled with anything but water.

Parents should brush the child's teeth twice a day until the child can brush alone (around the age of 6). Then the parent needs to watch and make sure the child is brushing each and every tooth.

4 years old

Brush twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. The parent should begin to floss between the teeth every day. Choose healthy snacks and sugarless gum. Limit the amount of candy, sweet tea and sodas. Take your child to the dentist twice a year.

6 years old

Brush twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily. Choose healthy snacks and sugarless gum. Limit the amount of candy, sweet tea and sodas. Ask your dentist about sealants (a protective coating painted on the permanent molars to prevent cavities).

6 to 12 years old

12 years to adult

Dougherty County Dental Clinic

Dougherty County Dental Clinic is a fully operational, state of the art dental clinic located within the Dougherty County Health Department. The county dental staff consists of a Program Assistant, Expanded Duty Dental Assistant, Registered Dental Hygienist, and a Board Certified Dentist. The major focus of this clinic is to serve the children of Dougherty County. The other focus is to provide emergency treatment and other necessary dental care to the other patients of the Health Clinic.  The Dougherty County Dental Clinic participates in many programs to address that need, which includes: Ryan White Programs for HIV patients, Citizens with Wisdom for our older patients, Peach care for kids, Medicaid patients and emergency extraction program.