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FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

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Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Mississippians' access to oral health among worst in U.S.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2024   

The Magnolia State is in the top five for worst access to dental care, according to a county-by-county report. More than 70 million Americans live in communities without enough dental-care providers.

Dr. Paul McConnell, dental director with UnitedHealthcare, said families don't have to sacrifice their children's dental health if they can't find a provider, and added it's all about teaching kids good oral hygiene habits as early as possible, which they'll carry with them throughout their lives.

"Cleaning your baby's gums with water and a soft cloth starting from birth to one year old, and then as those teeth do start to emerge, you're going to use a soft-bristle toothbrush and a small dab of fluoride toothpaste, usually about the size of a grain of rice. And then you'll still continue to brush twice a day," he explained.

Limited access to dental care contributes to poor oral health, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health. McConnell highlights the importance of regular dental visits for children. He acknowledged access to dental care can be limited in rural areas but suggests community health centers, local colleges and dental schools as options for getting young people the care they need.

McConnell said good oral-hygiene routines have a lasting effect on your teeth and gums. For example, periodontal disease, a major concern for older adults, can be prevented with proper care from a young age.

"Chronic periodontal disease is something that does affect the majority of our adult population. Nearly half of adults 30 and older have some form of gum disease, and this increases to 70% of people 65 years and older. Daily flossing is key for avoiding the development and/or progression of periodontal disease," McConnell continued.

Research shows poor oral health is connected to the development of pneumonia, diabetes and heart disease, and McConnell adds it can actually affect pregnant women and cause or be related to lower birthrate or other birth complications.


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