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Oral health is important to overall health

Oct 22, 2018

When we feel joy, often our first response is to grin. But for many in our community, a smile is not so simple.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases among kids in the U.S. Untreated tooth decay, tooth loss and gum disease are also prevalent among adults. Further, the condition of a person’s teeth can affect his or her health and ability to be productive at school or work.

That’s why it’s important to be sure that oral health is not considered a secondary issue. It’s a core component of overall health. At Interact for Health, our school-based health centers work to meet this need. We prioritize comprehensive health centers, such as the one opening this month at the Academy of World Languages, that provide physical, dental, vision and behavioral health services all in one location.

Some tips to ensure a healthy smile:

  • Get regular dental cleanings and check-ups.
  • Brush and floss regularly.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Be sure kids’ teeth are exposed to fluoride, both through the regular application of fluoride varnish by a dental or health care provider and via drinking water. Dental sealants can also help prevent childhood tooth decay.

To learn more about Interact for Health’s school-based health center work, visit

Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens is the president and chief executive officer of Interact for Health and InterAct for Change. Dr. Owens is a reproductive endocrinologist. He earned an MD, an OB/GYN residency and a master’s of public health degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He also obtained a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Harvard Medical School. In recent years, Dr. Owens has served as the Hamilton County Coroner, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College President, and Interim Health Commissioner and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Health Department.

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