Consider more than cotton candy and corn dogs at the Kentucky State Fair

Oral health assessments, juvenile diabetes walk booth and back-to-school screenings all part of dental school’s August community initiatives

August 15, 2013

Fair-goers may be looking forward to getting a junk food fix at the Kentucky State Fair, but UofL School of Dentistry experts are asking patrons to open their mouths for a check-up, one of several oral health initiatives this month.

For the 21st consecutive year, the University of Louisville School of Dentistry will offer free oral health assessments and oral cancer education in partnership with the Kentucky Cancer Program at the Kentucky State Fair.

Kentucky has a high incidence of oral disease, which includes tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. Lee Mayer, DMD, UofL School of Dentistry associate professor and director of community dental health, recommends regular checkups by a dental health professional for early detection and treatment.

According to the American Cancer Society, symptoms of oral cancer can include a sore in the mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal; a lump or thickening in the cheek; a white or red patch on the soft tissues of the mouth; a sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat; difficulties chewing, swallowing or moving the jaw.

The dental school will perform adult oral health assessments in the Healthy Horizons section of the South Wing exhibit hall on the following dates:

Aug. 17 – 4:30p.m.-7:30p.m.

Aug. 18 – 9:30a.m.-12:30p.m.

Aug. 20 – 5:30p.m.-7:30p.m.

Aug. 22 – 5:30p.m.-7:30p.m.

Aug. 24 – 4:30p.m.-6:30p.m.

Diabetes and gum disease is a two-way street

The mouth has been described as a window to the rest of the body. Research suggests a strong relationship between gum disease and diabetes. Patients with diabetes are more susceptible to serious gum disease, and serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

Other oral problems associated with diabetes include thrush, an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth, and dry mouth which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and cavities.

UofL dental hygiene faculty and students are raising awareness of oral health complications for diabetic patients through an educational booth at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes Aug. 24 at Churchill Downs.

Back-to-School screenings

As children prepare to go back to school, the UofL School of Dentistry is offering free oral health screenings for children at Lincoln Elementary and Dawson Orman Education Preschool Center as part of their community health fairs Aug.16, 17 and 29.

Kentucky law now requires children entering Kindergarten to get a screening by a dentist or other health care provider.

The UofL School of Dentistry pediatric dental office is accepting new patients for a free comprehensive exam and free bite wing x-rays through December 31, 2013.  Parents or guardians can call 502-852-5642 to schedule an appointment.