WAXAHACHIE — Not many would guess that the most preventable childhood disease is tooth decay.

But, when a child suffers from tooth decay — and there is not money to pay for a dentist — the result is pain. With tooth decay, a child can not eat, which makes it awfully difficult to concentrate on school. Without going to school, that child cannot learn to read which is the basis for a successful life in society.

Michael Hasty, of the Rotary Club of Grand Prairie, visited the Rotary Club of Waxahachie to explain their club project — eliminate tooth decay. They apply a dental sealant on the molars of school children to prevent tooth decay. Each year, a team visits local second graders to care for the first molar. They also go to the seventh grades to treat the next molar. This seemingly simple step has substantially reduced tooth decay in their school system which has over 90 percent of its kids on reduced food programs, a measure of economic problems.

Hasty showed pictures of very young children with badly decayed molars which have to be removed. He said that although the pain of removal can be significant the children immediately smile because their total pain has been reduced. They can be kids again, playing, going to school and, ultimately, being good members of society.

The Grand Prairie club also sponsors an annual trip to Grenada, Nicaragua to help the children there. They seal the healthy teeth and remove the bad ones. In that area of the world, dental hygiene is not understood. If the family has a toothbrush at all, they all share it, and it may be old. The Rotarians give toothbrushes and information to help the families understand what is needed to be orally healthy.

Hasty spoke to the club to encourage similar programs in other places. Some parts of this are being done locally, but it would be an excellent opportunity for an individual or organization to step up and take the project on.

For more information contact Mike Hasty at michaelehasty@gmail.com or call 214-507-7681. Visit the Grand Prairie website www.grandprairierotary.com for details of their program.

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For more information about the Rotary Club of Waxahachie where we believe in Service Above Self and doing things as a club we cannot do alone, visit the club website at www.waxahachierotary.org. You can find American flag subscription forms there. Cow Creek Country Classic bike ride information will be there soon. The bike ride will be Saturday, June 24.