800 students receive free dental check ups

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - About 800 second graders across Harrison County had an appointment with the dentist Friday. They all enjoyed free dental check-ups, without having to leave the comforts of their classrooms.

The Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport brought its "SMILE" program to eight schools in Long Beach, Gulfport and Harrison County. Local dentists donated their services by checking the students' mouths for cavities, gum disease and crooked teeth. Junior Auxiliary members also used various activities to explain to the students the connection between their teeth and their overall health.

"We have eggs, and we've set them in soda or grape juice, and just to show how that over a long period of time can really be detrimental to your teeth," said Ashley Mixon, a member of the Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport.

At Reeves Elementary School in Long Beach, one dentist provided free dental checkups to about 100 students.

"February is Dental Awareness Month, and we like to come into the schools and give the children a really good sense of dental care and why it's important to their overall health," said Mixon.

"They're in an environment they're comfortable in anyway, so when we come in, it's kind of a nice part of their day to have something special done for them."

After the exams, the dentists will notify the children's parents of any problems. If a child needs immediate care, but can't afford it, the Junior Auxiliary provides financial assistance.

Every child who participated in the voluntary dental check up Friday received a goody bag to take home. It contained a tooth brush and tooth paste to remind the little ones to take good care of their teeth.

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