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Special programs giving Flint children access to fluoride

a giant tooth greets children. Not as terrifying as it sounds.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

New programs are getting underway in Flint to help protect the teeth of thousands of children.

Since Flint’s drinking water crisis began, parents have stopped letting their children drink from the kitchen faucet.  

But while that is protecting the kids from contaminants in the water, it’s also cutting them off from fluoride added to the water to protect their teeth.

“We do know that kids who don’t have access to fluoridated water are much more likely to develop cavities,” says Terri Battaglieri, director of the Delta Dental Foundation.  

Battaglieri says there’s no data yet showing an increase in cavities in Flint children. However, she says with more families turning off the tap and turning to fruit drinks, energy drinks and soft drinks, more Flint kids are bound to have problems with their teeth.

The foundation is giving $200,000 for programs that allow kids in kindergarten through the sixth grade to rinse with fluoride mouthwash regularly. Parents with children in Head Start will also have the opportunity to have the kid’s teeth treated with a fluoride varnish.  

The initial program starts next month, with the rest being rolled out later this year.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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