A Smile Means Friendship to Everyone!

So goes a line of the folk song, “It’s a Small World.” And just how can everyone enjoy the kind of dental health that makes a smile possible? 

Thanks to the North Country Molar Express, help is on the way for anyone who needs dental work here in the North Country. They are currently headquartered in Whitefield, as a program of the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC). 

In 2010, the Molar Express mobile unit held 165 oral health clinics in schools, nursing homes and community sites, providing cleanings, exams, fluoride treatments, sealants, restorative care and extractions.  The team includes a full-time dentist, Dr. Jeremy Draper, a registered dental hygienist, staff dental assistants and office manager, Amy Goyette. 

Tooth decay continues to be the single most chronic disease of US children, with nearly 1 in 5 preschoolers, 1 in 2 second graders, and 3 in 4 adolescents experiencing tooth decay. Caries continue into adulthood. 1 in 3 US adults have untreated tooth decay.

Anyone who has difficulty speaking, tasting and chewing, has even bigger challenges learning in school, holding a job, or functioning effectively in the community. The act of chewing alone has a powerful effect on our life. We enjoy the wonder of ‘chewing the rag’ with friends, ‘chewing over’ some new idea in our minds, and ‘chewing our food’ so that it will be digested easily and well in our systems.

 “The health of the mouth and teeth is a vital part of a person’s overall physical health,” says Martha McLeod, Executive director of the NCHC. “Most jobs in the North Country are in tourism and the service industry; personal appearance, especially smiling, is important.” The goal of the Molar Express is to educate people about the link between dental care and chronic disease. Better yet, the team provides dental care to children and adults needing it.

 The program is designed to help uninsured folks needing dental care but who are unable to access it through local dentists. A sliding scale for payment is clearly aimed at making care affordable for everyone who qualifies. Amy Goyette is the person to contact at 603-837-2643 x 604, or e-mail: agoyette@nchcnh.org.

 This is definitely kitchen table talk to be passed around among friends and neighbors as an act of friendship that leaves everyone smiling.

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