May 302014
 
smile7740

An ECU dental student provides care during Give Kids a Smile Day held earlier this year in Greenville. The annual event is sponsored by the East Central Dental Society and geared to improving children’s oral and overall health.

East Carolina University is helping foster healthier smiles from the mountains to the coast.

On May 16, ECU announced plans to build a dental clinic on U.S. 17 in Bolivia adjacent to Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in southeastern North Carolina. And the university’s School of Dental Medicine is scheduled to officially open its fourth community service learning center with a ribbon cutting in Sylva in southwestern North Carolina on June 27.

The Brunswick County center will be the eighth opened by the ECU School of Dental Medicine in underserved areas across the state. Centers are already serving patients in Ahoskie, Elizabeth City, Lillington and Sylva and others are under construction in Spruce Pine, Davidson County and Robeson County.

Led by ECU dental faculty members, fourth-year dental students will receive clinical training at the centers while general dentistry residents also hone their skills at the facilities. The general dentistry centers feature treatment rooms, X-ray equipment, educational space and more.  

The school recently was awarded a $451,955 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Division to fund audio-visual technology at the learning centers and to support infrastructure at Ledyard E. Ross Hall, the site of the school on ECU’s health sciences campus.

Students and residents at the centers stay connected to the teaching program at ECU by using a video teleconferencing system to attend lectures, seminars and consultations with specialists. Teleconferencing also allows for remote patient consultation and diagnosis and continuing education for dental faculty and area dentists.

ECU admitted its first class of 52 dental students in 2011. All students are North Carolina residents. The first class will begin seeing patients in the community service learning centers this fall.

Any member of the community – including Medicaid patients – can receive dental care at the centers.

For people who live in and near Greenville, a clinic is open at Ross Hall. Call 252-737-7834 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to learn more or to make an appointment. Or visit http://www.ecu.edu/dental.

 

 

 

 

Share/Bookmark
Feb 172014
 

It’s February, and the American Dental Association is sponsoring the annual National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about oral health.

Teaching children good oral hygiene habits early in life can lead to a healthy smile for decades to come.

Parents can visit the ADA website for free online resources from coloring and activity sheets to advice about concerns from thumbsucking to sealants. The website, MouthHealthy.org, has information on developing healthy habits for everyone, at all stages of life.

A balanced diet is important for a child’s growth and development and should include fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy and lean proteins.

Take the fact or fiction quiz on the website to test your knowledge on oral health. For example, diluting fruit juice with water doesn’t make it less sugary. A popular saying is “Snack and sip all day? Risk decay” Try and rinse your mouth with water after you eat something sweet. Water is better than juice for hydration and nutrition.

Another fact: A baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth. And the baby teeth that begin coming through the gums at about six months help prepare for future smiles by keeping space in the jaw for adult teeth. It’s important to keep the teeth strong, healthy and cavity-free.

The ADA reminds everyone that developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental check-ups helps children get a good start on healthy teeth and gums for life. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day.

If you don’t have a regular dentist, the ECU School of Dental Medicine is here to help.

The dental school in Greenville is accepting new patients for ECU’s pre-doctoral and resident clinics. Make an appointment for a screening by calling 252-737-7834 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The school’s Community Service Learning Centers in Ahoskie and Elizabeth City are also open. The Ahoskie clinic can be reached at 252-332-1904, and the Elizabeth City clinic is at 252-737-7250.  

 

 

Dec 062013
 

Dr. Linda May Linda May, MS, PhD, assistant professor in the School of Dental Medicine Department of Foundational Sciences and Research, has received the Faculty Re-assignment Award for teaching release time for spring 2014 from the ECU Division of Research and Graduate Studies to prepare a competitive grant application to the National Institutes for Health (NIH) for continuation of her ENHANCED by Mom project.

With North Carolina being the 5th worst state for childhood obesity rates, Dr. May studies how physical activity in mothers during pregnancy influences the development of the child before and after birth.

“Although there are many programs targeting children to attenuate or eliminate childhood obesity, few programs begin the intervention during pregnancy,” said May. “From past studies, we know that exercise during pregnancy decreases fat gain and risk of gestational diabetes, and it improves pregnancy outcomes.”

May will seek NIH funding to continue studying pregnant moms and their babies and to take her work a step further by offering education programs for pregnant moms.

She plans to work with the school’s Community Service Learning Centers across the state to partner with pregnant moms and health professionals to explore the effects of obesity during pregnancy on babies and children and to identify barriers to change and solutions.

Dr. May was among nine faculty members to complete the ECU Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy in December. The year-long program cultivates scholars who can be leaders in their professions while engaging with communities to improve quality of life.

Dr. May also received a Health Sciences Authors Award this fall from ECU’s Laupus Library in recognition of her 2013 publications, including “Nutritional Habits during Pregnancy: Patient Knowledge and Provider Intervention” in the Journal of Perinatal Education and “Exercise During Pregnancy: The Role of Obstetric
Providers” in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Dr. May teaches anatomy for the School of Dental Medicine and does research in exercise physiology with the College of Health and Human Performance. She published her first book Physiology of Prenatal Exercise and Fetal Development in 2012. She has taught for over fifteen years in subjects including histology, physiology, gross anatomy, and biology.

Oct 292013
 
Cotterill, Christopher (Passport Photo)

Christopher A. Cotterill, DMD, assistant clinical professor in the ECU School of Dental Medicine

In the last few days of October, Halloween is only a few days away with Thanksgiving following soon after and generally marking the beginning of the holiday season.

This festive time of year is wonderful for allowing enjoyment of traditions and socializing with friends and family. However, this often involves increased intake of candy, confections, and other treats that normally would not be consumed in such quantity or frequency.

Maintaining good oral health along with these dietary changes is important for people of all ages, but it is especially important for children.

This is one reason that a year ago the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the Ad Council instituted the Partnership for Oral Health. This campaign, http://2min2x.org, was designed to raise awareness of oral health in children, parents, and caregivers.

As exemplified by its web address, one of the keys to good oral health is maintaining good oral hygiene through brushing children’s teeth for 2 minutes 2 times a day.

Other good oral health practices include:

  • Brushing teeth after meals, especially at night, and not having snacks or sweetened beverages between brushing and bedtime.
  • Supervising a child’s brushing and flossing until they are old enough to do a good job on their own. When children develop this ability can vary slightly, but for most children it’s around age 8.
  • Using dental floss to clean between teeth at least once a day, every day as soon as any of the adjacent teeth begin to touch each other. Use of floss is important for the removal of plaque and food between the teeth where the bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach. If traditional use of dental floss wrapped around fingers is found to be too difficult for the child, parent, or caregiver, then the use of disposable flossers or other flossing aids can help make this easier.
  • Delivering topical fluoride to the teeth through toothpaste, rinse, or fluoridated water can help strengthen enamel and make it more resistant to the acidic attack that is involved in the tooth decay process.
  • Seeing a dentist regularly. The AAPD recommends that all children have a dental home.  Properly establishing a dental home means that all children should see a dentist by one year of age and on a regular basis for the rest of their lives, similar to recommendations for wellness checks with pediatricians. This is important because dentists can detect small problems before they become bigger and start to cause pain. 

These and other recommendations can be found on the AAPD’s website at: http://www.aapd.org

-Christopher A. Cotterill, DMD, assistant clinical professor

ECU School of Dental Medicine

Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics