Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma statistics for children’s oral health are staggering – with estimates that 80.5 percent of youth have oral health problems and 22.2 percent of third graders have already lost at least one tooth from decay.
A group of medical professionals and community members in Oklahoma City decided to do something about it.
In March, Drs. Robert Bryan and Jeremy Goodson, board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons of Oral Surgery Specialists of Oklahoma, founded the Oklahoma City chapter of Project Save A Mouth (PSAM) — a national initiative to further better oral health awareness.
On Wednesday, May 17, two PSAM coalition members presented to 150 kindergarten and first-grade students at Linwood Elementary about the importance of proper oral health and best oral hygiene practices. This was the second in a series of school presentations.
Dr. Bryan and Dr. Bailey Coleman, a general dentist, taught the young crowd best oral hygiene habits, the importance of oral health, and the consequences of not brushing and flossing regularly. Dr. Bryan and Dr. Coleman handed out goody bags filled with oral hygiene items to the kids after the presentation.
“We hope to make a lasting impact on these kids’ health to set them up for real success throughout their entire lives. Poor oral health leads to other issues throughout the entire body that can prevent you from pursuing your dreams,” said Dr. Bryan. “If we can keep these kids healthy by investing a little bit of our time, the outcome is well worth the effort.”
PSAM has grown significantly since launch of the coalition’s local chapter. The group now consists of 24 local medical professionals, members from both the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the Oklahoma Dental Association, and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. In signing the PSAM pledge, these community leaders have promised to do what they can to better oral health in the area, such as participating in these school visits.
“If we rally together, we can make a real impact on the future health of Oklahoma citizens. Oral health statistics in our area are far too negative, and we are happy to be involved with this community initiative that works to promote real change,” said Dr. Goodson.
More information about Drs. Bryan and Goodson and their practice can be found at www.oklahomacityoralsurgery.com.
More information about the Oklahoma City chapter of Project Save A Mouth can be found at www.projectsaveamouth.com/okc.