Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Features · Dental Day
. . . .

Dental Day

Robert Downes - October 20th, 2008
Parents and their kids will have something to smile about this Saturday, Oct. 25 at 10:30 a.m., when a Dental Health Morning program takes the stage at the State Theatre in Traverse City.
Hundreds of kids are expected to attend the educational event that brims with fun, including a 25-cent matinee showing of “The Sandlot” baseball flick, along with a skit on orthodontics and dental hygiene handouts of 1,000 toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste.
The event is one of many creative ways that children and adults are being helped by the Dental Access Program of the Traverse Health Clinic and Coalition (THC&C) and Northland Dental Hygienists.
“We screened 4,040 kids last year through the Traverse Bay Give Kids a Smile program,” says Rene Louchart, dental health coordinator for THC&C. “At the State Theatre, we’re going to offer more awareness of preventive oral health services and habits that parents may not be are of.”
Louchart and her team have much to be proud of: recently, she was named “Dental Hygienist of the Year” in Michigan in large part for her role in organizing the Dental Access Program that provides dental hygiene services and screening people in five counties.

A GROWING NEED
“We have a growing need for these services at a time when many people are losing their jobs, yet the cost of health care is rising,” says Arlene Brennen, RN, who heads up the Community Health Access Program (CHAP) in Traverse City. “In this five-county region alone, we have 15,000 adults living at low income levels, making around $10 per hour or less.”
She adds that by one estimate, the number of Americans who do not have dental insurance is two-and-a-half times as many as those who do not have health insurance.
Even middle class families are slipping into the demographic known as the “working poor,” with the loss of jobs. Some families are in a state of shock, facing new economic realities; unable to pay healthcare bills; and may be unaware that help is available. Others have transportation issues and may have difficulty just getting their kids to the dentist.
“Many of these people may not know about the community dental services that are available to them,” Brennen notes. “Fortunately, we have a lot of programs for children. It’s adults who have the most problems with accessing dental care.”
Adults do receive some help through the programs of the CHAP center, located across from Logan’s Landing on Airport Road in Traverse City.
Currently, four retired dentists, Drs, Don Pichè, Stephen Beeker, Royce Beers and Tom Littlefield, conduct referral exams on about 500 adults per year. Adults who are uninsured and have no access to Medicaid or Medicare are referred on to 30 volunteer dentists in the area who provide emergency services.
Those services are expanding to take some Medicaid patients, generally available to those who make less than $10 per hour.
CHAP has an even greater reach through its medical outreach program that’s available to adults, ages 18 and older in Leelanau, Benzie and Grand Traverse counties.
“Participants who get a CHAP card can come to see our physicians and nurses here. We have about 1,800 volunteers in the medical community who donate their time, as well as a wonderful optical and pharmacy program,” says Angela Lyon, who helps coordinate the programs. She recently received a national award for her work in community outreach and health access programs.

JUST FOR KIDS
Children have better options for dental care through a variety of programs.
“In a lot of families, it’s the husband and wife who need dental care the most because their children have coverage through Medicaid or through Delta Dental’s Healthy Kids Program,” Louchart notes.
School screenings are common, with kids encouraged to fill in a “Dental Health Report Card” to identify where hygiene needs to be improved, and to head off dental problems.
Michelle Smith is a local hygienist who has launched a program to treat children between the ages of 10-21. Launched last year, her outreach program is supported by Grand Traverse County and Dental Clinics North.
“My program offers cleanings, X-rays and sealants to kids in need who qualify,” says Smith, who’s smile is as bright as her dream of expanding dental care to children. Working out of the Youth Health Wellness Center (at the Career Tech Center) in Traverse City, she saw 140 kids last year and hopes to take her program to new heights in the year ahead. “Our hope is to be able to take some mobile equipment and go into the schools to promote better dental hygiene.”
For the dental health team, one of the biggest challenges is just getting the word out to the community that help is available.
“There’s such an enormous need to know out there. When we held a program at a local school, all of our brochures were gone in a flash,” says Lyon. “Parents are looking for help and need to know their options.”

Check out Dental Health Morning at the State Theatre in downtown TC on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 10:30 a.m. Also, check out www.gtchd.org/health, or call the Traverse Health Clinic at
231-935-0668 or the Youth Health Wellness Center at 231-922-6416 for care options.


 
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