Award given to improve U.P. children's dental hygiene

NEGAUNEE — The Marquette County Health Department has been awarded a generous donation towards helping U.P. children’s oral hygiene.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan awarded a grant of fifty thousand dollars for over the course of two years. This money will be used towards the U.P. Wide Smiles initiative, which works to improve the oral health status of children all over the Upper Peninsula.

It has been found that children in the U.P. face more tooth decay than fellow children downstate, due to the lack of fluoride in the water. Members of the Marquette County Health Department were excited to receive the award and be able to help children.

“I think it’s wonderful they are going to let us continue this work because dental health is so important for young children,” said Dental Health Coordinator for the Marquette County Health Department, Rebecca Maino. “If you can establish early in life these habits of taking care of your teeth and your mouth, they will continue to use these habits and do these things over their lifetime.”

The Health Department plans on using the award to continue to introduce fluoride mouth rinse in elementary schools around the area. It will also be used to reach out to physicians and inform them the importance of painting on fluoride varnish to the teeth, this of which is quicker and safer for children.