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B-N Dentists Offer Free Screenings At Children's Discovery Museum

Members of the McLean County Dental Society during Thursday's screenings at the Children's Discovery Museum in Uptown Normal.

Bloomington-Normal dentists are marking National Children’s Dental Health Month by offering free oral health screenings this week at the Children’s Discovery Museum.

The first screenings were Thursday. Screening stations will also be available from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 29. Kids can ask questions and learn about the tools they might see during a regular dentist visit.

Dr. Greg Dietz, president of the McLean County Dental Society, said it's common for children to feel nervous about their first visit to the dentist, and it is up to the professionals to provide a safe environment.

“It’s all about making kids comfortable,” he said. “It’s providing an environment that is nonthreatening. It’s communicating with kids at their level, and using words they’re comfortable with.”

Dietz said cavities are the most common chronic disease among children.

“What we find is that 80% of the cavities are found in just 20% of the children, and those happen to be kids who come from homes of lower socioeconomic status,” he said.

Dietz said tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children, but it can be prevented if treated early.

“We also see problems like gingivitis. We can also see problems like malocclusion, so it’s so important to get kids started seeing the dentist at a very early age,” he said.

National Children’s Dental Health Month is held every February as a monthlong national health observance led by the American Dental Association.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
Cindy Hernandez is a reporting and social media intern at WGLT. She's a senior in Illinois State University's School of Communication.