Addressing the oral health of North Carolina’s children

 School of Dental Medicine  Comments Off on Addressing the oral health of North Carolina’s children
Sep 102012

How are teeth problems affecting child outcomes in North Carolina?

Dr. Ford Grant, DMD, director of general dentistry and clinical associate professor in the ECU School of Dental Medicine, responds to ECU Health Beat questions.

Q. In your experience, how do dental problems affect the academic success of children?

A. Since opening the first Community Service Learning Center (CSLC) in Ahoskie we have seen many children with extensive decay and abscessed teeth. These children experience oral pain on a daily basis. Their parents seem to be at a loss as to what is causing the problem. A recent study at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry found children with tooth pain were four times more likely to have a grade point average below the median. The study noted that children missed an average of six days in elementary school due to illness. Dental problems accounted for 2.1 days of the total. They also found that parents missed an average of 2.5 days of work per year to take their children to the dentist.

Q. How can more be done to help parents understand the importance of oral hygiene for their children?

A. Of course you cannot be healthy without a healthy mouth, to paraphrase former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. Many dental offices refuse to see children until they can behave and sit still. By then the damage is done, if good oral hygiene practices are not carried out at home. At the Ahoskie CSLC, we encourage parents to bring their children for an initial exam before the age of one, when the teeth are just starting to erupt. This exam is in the lap of the parent and the purpose is to teach the parent how to properly clean their child’s teeth and mouth. Bacteria infect the hard tissues of the teeth causing tooth decay or caries (cavities). You are not born with those bacteria in your mouth. It is passed to children from contact with another person’s saliva. We need to approach the problem in the way other infectious diseases are managed.

Q. How will the ECU School of Dental Medicine impact oral health awareness/education in North Carolina?

A. The ECU School of Dental Medicine will have an active pediatric dentistry program that will help train dentists to enter the community and take on these problems. At the CSLC, we will hope to be involved with health programs in the community to educate parents and new mothers to prevention of oral infections and decay. School based programs will be used to help encourage good nutritional and oral care practices for a lifetime.

For more on the USC study, go to:



New art exhibit showcases the creative side of ECU’s Division of Health Sciences

 College of Allied Health Sciences, Laupus Library  Comments Off on New art exhibit showcases the creative side of ECU’s Division of Health Sciences
Sep 042012

American novelist and literary critic John Updike said, “What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.”

This notion holds true for all of us, including the faculty, staff and students within ECU’s Division of Health Sciences, who take time out of their demanding schedules to tap into their creative side.

Since last January, Laupus Library has celebrated the talents and self-expression of some of our school’s brightest medical minds by showcasing their work in the “Art as Avocation” exhibit series. The celebration will continue this fall semester with a new exhibit from Dr. Leonard G. Trujillo, associate professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy.

Dr. Trujillo’s exhibit, entitled “Artistry in Wood: Reflections of Past and Present, Preserved Forever” will showcase his personal collection of relief wood carvings. Scheduled to open September 11, the wood carvings will be on display on the Laupus Library 4th floor gallery through November 6.

For Dr. Trujillo and our other colleagues featured in Art as Avocation, art provides the space and breathing room of which John Updike speaks. And for those of us able to view the fruits of that creativity, a new window of understanding, connectedness and appreciation for our colleagues may be opened.  

We welcome you to stop by the library this fall to view the exhibits, broaden your perspective – and perhaps become inspired to explore your own creativity.  If nothing else, you’re sure to enjoy a moment of “breathing room” away from daily responsibilities.

To learn more about the artists and how you might be able to participate in future exhibitions, please visit the Art as Avocation page at

Visitors can view the exhibit during normal operating hours posted at or call 252-744-2219. For more information about the exhibit, call Kelly Rogers Dilda at 252-744-2232 or e-mail

–Dr. Dorothy A. Spencer, Director of Laupus Library