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November 23, 2011

ULM’s Mobile Dental Hygiene Unit visits East Carroll Parish

On Nov. 19, ULM's Mobile Dental Hygiene Unit served the oral health care needs of East Carroll Parish during a visit to East Carroll Parish Hospital.

The College of Health Sciences at the University of Louisiana at Monroe is committed to reaching citizens by providing dental hygiene services on the Mobile Dental Hygiene Unit.

Services are provided at no cost to the patients, their families, or another entity.

The Mobile Dental Hygiene Unit was purchased in 2010 with federal funds from HRSA. It is operated by the Department of Dental Hygiene at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

The 42-foot-long Mobile Dental Hygiene Unit contains three dental hygiene operatories, each outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment to provide best practices care.

During the 2010-2011 academic year, dental hygiene services were provided to more nearly 200 children in an underserved area of Ouachita Parish.

During the current 2011-2012 academic year, dental hygiene services are being provided to children and adults in Morehouse Parish.

Since September, more than 150 children and adults have received dental hygiene services.

Senator Francis Thompson, Representative Charles "Bubba" Chaney, and Representative Andy Anders were all instrumental in bringing the Mobile Dental Hygiene Unit to serve residents in East Carroll Parish.

Dental hygiene students, supervised by faculty, provide the following: health history review, examination of head, neck, and oral tissues for disease; oral cancer and blood pressure screenings; exposure, processing, and interpretation of dental x-rays; clean teeth; apply preventive agents (e.g., fluoride, antimicrobials, sealants); and offer patient education (e.g., oral health care, dietary counseling).

The National Institute of Health recognizes that oral health can be indicative of systemic health.

In addition to cavities, toothaches, and crooked or stained teeth, different diseases such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, and some eating disorders can cause oral health problems.

Primary prevention and early intervention can help improve oral and systemic health, quality of life, and future success.

The Mobile Dental Unit allows the College of Health Sciences at the University of Louisiana at Monroe to continue to address its mission of educating the health care professionals of tomorrow while delivering health care to Louisiana citizens today.

For more information about the mobile dental hygiene unit, call 318-342-1622.

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