Dental Health a Concern in Rural North Florida

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

CHIPLEY, FL 2/14/2012 --

Dental health has been an ongoing issue in Washington County for years. Because it's such a rural area, not many dentists work there, let alone ones that accept Medicaid. However, the county's health department is stepping in to help.

Childrens' dental health continues to be a big concern for health officials in Washington County.

"The rural counties have a hard time getting doctors and dentists and such to come to the counties," said Washington County Health Director Rick Davis.

Davis said the majority of students within the school system there depend on federal aid for medical care. However he didn't think any dentists in the area accept that kind of coverage.

"We think that between sixty and seventy percent of the school children in Washington County are on Medicaid," said Davis.

But he said the health department's dental clinic, which has been around for about four years, is now stable enough to take on more patients at the schools themselves.

"There are so many kids in the schools that we know are not coming here that we need to reach out and do what we can for them," said Davis.

The health department will start with Vernon Elementary this semester, then add Kate Smith next year. Every student is eligible and it's all free of charge.

"Our first priority is our childrens' health," said Washington County School Superintendent Sandra Cook.

For about the last ten years, Jackson County was providing this service with its mobile dental bus, but Davis said through Medicaid and and other federal grant money, his department can finally afford to take over.


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  • by Uncaring Conservative on Feb 14, 2012 at 02:51 PM
    Let the poor's teeth rot. I shall care not. I care only about paying less taxes and my money.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 06:29 PM in reply to Uncaring Conservative
      You're not fooling anyone.
    • reply
      by LOL on Feb 15, 2012 at 09:02 AM in reply to Uncaring Conservative
      no substance, just rhetoric...."Conservative Democrat" at it again...
  • by dog Location: gone on Feb 14, 2012 at 11:56 AM
    Meth, Tobacco, Not Brushing add's to the problem, If you just go to Jail you will get if fixed for Free (taxpayer expence). Just because your White dosen't mean your Not POOR.
    • reply
      by DD on Feb 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM in reply to dog
      You do have to pay for it in jail. Just not as much as you would regularly.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:29 AM
    60-70% percent of the kids in Washington County are on Medicaid but I'm guessing 80-90% of their parents vote Republican. I say we make them lead by example by making their teeth rot out without a dime of our hard earned tax dollars. If they were meant to have teeth, the free market would provide them.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM in reply to
      Classy, real classy.
  • by Thomas Jefferson Quote on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM
    "A wise and frugal Government....AND SHALL NOT TAKE FROM THE MOUNTH OF LABOR THE BREAD IT HAS ERANED."
  • by Miss Bessie on Feb 14, 2012 at 09:49 AM
    No joke. Dental health should be a concern. The infection is right there at the brain. But they worry about other stuff. Dentists should be sat on until they take poor people too. They don't do anything right now without payment up front. Dentists are part of the medical community - step up to the plate.
  • by Really? Location: tally on Feb 14, 2012 at 09:16 AM
    What is the president's vision of change? Did he transport to 1965 to all of a sudden implement medicaid just so we can tell people they are "out of luck" for the next 47 years up until now? Those are your words and amount to a lot of out of luck people. Gosh, where did all that medicaid money go if we didn't help anyone? What is immoral about a system that is helping the poor? Why must obama change this? Actually, I know what you're saying. You are defending obama putting more and more people into the system. He is expanding Medicaid far past it's resources, which is unsustainable, and you call it "immoral" and "change" to dupe the masses on the left. You are being disingenuous.
    • reply
      by Helping the Poor? on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:13 AM in reply to Really?
      Helping the poor is not immoral. Providing free housing, food, dental care, utilities, etc. for children does NOT help them. It teaches them dependency, not personal growth and fulfilling thier full potential. Have you ever seen a winner on welfare!!
  • by LC2 on Feb 14, 2012 at 08:32 AM
    Only floss the teeth you want to keep.
  • by Anon Location: <<>> on Feb 14, 2012 at 08:02 AM
    I don't have dental insurance. I wish I could find a dentist around here who would let their hygenist clean my teeth without xraying them first. Can afford the cleaning, but don't need nor want to pay for the xrays.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:28 AM in reply to Anon
      Have you tried calling and asking? How about the dental school at TCC?
  • by Larry on Feb 14, 2012 at 07:37 AM
    The U.S. is about the only nation that tells it's citizens "If you have money you can get dental care and if you don't then you're out of luck". That's very immoral and our President has the vision to change this.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 09:20 AM in reply to Larry
      You will get so much backlash for this comment. I agree with you, though.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:26 AM in reply to Larry
      What is wrong with working for what you want and need? If you want food, work for it. If you want a car, work for it. If you want to go to a dentist, work for it. It is pretty simple, and this has been the way people have done things for centuries, and you think 1 man can change it? I feel sorry for you if you really think this way.
      • reply
        by sarcasm alert,dead ahead on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:41 PM in reply to
        There ya go again, always throwing that personal responsibility card on the table.
      • reply
        by Mecq on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM in reply to
        @ Anonymous.....I beg to differ with you. The ruling minority never worked until the Great Depression. You did not till the soil,bail the cotton, crop the tobacco. None of those things that fortified the Southern Economy to make it strong.. And you did it all by using violence, and intimidation. When Slavery was abolished you were forced to work until you used JimCrow to further your economic agenda. At least you recognize that Prsident Obama is only one man. he cannot fix the ills of this country that has been ingrained in a violent society for centuries. No other civilized country in the world denies their citizens Healthcare. It benefits us all that we have a healthy population. And the ruling Minority would deny those less fortunate than themselves.
  • by Dr. Kessel Location: Sue City on Feb 14, 2012 at 07:21 AM
    Did you know that the toothbrush was actually invented in Washington County? (Anywhere else, it would have been called the teethbrush)
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:41 PM in reply to Dr. Kessel
      I know it's wrong, but I laughed.
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