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Halifax Community College (HCC) has been awarded a five-year $119,650 grant by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem. Grant funding will create a pilot program called the HCC Healthy Smiles Dental Care Program that will provide free, basic dental care for a portion of the area's elementary (K-5) school children. Local school superintendents, principals, school nurses, the county health department and dentists are partnering with the college to ensure the program's success.

Dental Hygiene Program personnel and students will work with children who otherwise would not get dental care. The program will help alleviate the barrier to dental access for a large number of elementary school children in Northampton and Halifax counties through a comprehensive program of individual assessments, sealants, fluoride treatments, x-rays, education, and parental involvement.

According to HCC Dental Hygiene Department Head D. J. Markham, “This unique project provides valuable preventive oral health to impoverished children in our area and encourages habitual oral healthcare as a lifestyle.”

Students will be transported to campus for a clinic visit. After the visit, students will receive a Healthy Smiles care package containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, and age-appropriate how-to-brush guides and calendars with a reward system for monitoring daily brushing. Educational guides, donated by Crest, will also be provided for parents and guardians to encourage involvement. Patients with decay will be referred to local healthcare providers. Dental Hygiene students will also make school visits to offer oral hygiene educational information to non-program participants and reinforcement for Healthy Smiles' students.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was created in 1947 by the will of Mrs. William N. Reynolds of Winston-Salem. Three-fourths of the Trust's grants are designated for use for health-related programs and services across North Carolina and one-fourth for the poor and needy of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.