By JC Medina
The Thurston County Board of Health (BOH) declared the month of February as Children’s Dental Health Month in the region, coinciding with the American Heart Health Month during their meeting Tues.
Health-related organizations are expected to raise awareness of the importance of heart and oral health throughout the month following the proclamations.
“Young people are 30% of our population and a hundred percent of our future, that’s why it is so important to do this early intervention,” Board of Health Commissioner Gary Edwards said.
In their 2020-2024 Department Strategic Plan, the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services prioritized oral health as a critical approach to encourage healthy living.
The BOH stressed that oral health in the County should not be dependent on “age, income, race, ethnicity, gender, or geography.”
The health board’s proclamation also highlighted the importance of oral health awareness and urged the public to “recognize the critical importance of how oral health affects overall health.”
The two proclamations align with two Thurston County Strategic Plan Initiatives, namely “improve health outcomes for all” and “improve community health, wellness, and safety.”
Thurston County Public Health and Social Services would partner with Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD), the SmileMobile, and local school districts for this year’s programs.
American Heart Health Month
“One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States.” Thurston County Paramedic Preston Wallace said this is the reason why they train the public to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
In the last six years, Wallace said that they were able to train about 21,000 people to do compression-only CPR, a first aid action that gives a 2 to 3 times better survival rate for the victim.
“We recognize the importance and the efficacy that CPR has to our community,” Wallace said. “With so many people being taught that, and we want to keep that going. Thus making not just February a ‘Heart Healthy Month’ but every month of the year.”
The BOH, in its statement, urged the public to “recognize the critical importance of identifying symptoms, taking preventative measures to live healthfully, and incorporating tools and skills that will increase survival rates and save thousands of lives each year.”
The American Heart Association encourages citizens to help save lives by calling 9-1-1 if symptoms occur, getting trained in CPR, and promoting comprehensive automated external defibrillator programs in their communities.