The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on November 24, 1968 · Page 36
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 36

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 24, 1968
Page 36
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Page 36 article text (OCR)

C4-Palm Beach Post-Times, Sunday, Nov. 24. 1968 Give Cavity Brush-Off sister takes it to use, or the mother 'borrows' it to clean shoes!" Recently, a full time Public Health Service dental hygienist paid by the school board, has begun working in the schools in the Glades. (As a side comment on this. Dr. Markham points out that there is a great need in the Glades area for girls to work in dental hygiene. The hygienist and Dr. Markham teach the children how to use their toothbrushes, and they try to instill good dental habits in the youngsters. In addition. Dr. Markham has a 15-year-old bi-lingual girl helping out in the clinic in the afternoons. She puts the fearful young patients at ease, demonstrates how to use a toothbrush, and converses with worried parents in Spanish. "At first, the children were terrified," Dr. Markham says, "but when each one would go back to school with a shiny new 'silver tooth' replacing the rotting old painful one, all the others in the class would soon be jealously clamoring for silver teeth, too! " Providing the toothbrushes seemed to be a major hurdle at first, but eventually church and service groups began collecting funds for the brushes, which Dr. Markham was able to get at a considerable saving through cooperating manufacturers. In addition, the various schools have been conducting fund raising events to collect the money for their "own" toothbrushes. The Sunday School classes at First Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach, where Dr. Markham is a member, became so excited over "Operation Toothbrush" that the youngsters have begun making their own collection for the endeavour. By "feeding" a troll bank, they've already collected enough to buy a couple hundred toothbrushes. Perhaps "Operation Toothbrush" is having results that will reach even further than Dr. Markham originally hoped. The more privileged youngsters, while practicing the art of Christian charity, are also finding out what happens to the mouths of children who don't keep their teeth clean, and this makes more impact than Mother's desperate nagging! By SHEILA TRYK Staff Writer Saving mouths is Dr. Gerald Markham's business, and "Operation Toothbrush" is one of the ways he goes about it. "Our main job is education." says the personable young dentist. "If we get them while they're young, we can teach children how to take care of their teeth. After they' re 8 or 9. it's frequently too late." Gerald Markham's office is a large, modern, fully-equipped mobile dental unit, which is "parked" in Belle Glade. "It's rather an immobile mobile unit," he laughs. Dr. Markham, who works for the Palm Beach County Health Department, is one of 4 Public Health Service dentists in the county. His work is mainly with indigent children migrant and resident and with pregnant women, in the Glades. Usually the cases are acute, and the clinic's main concern is "to alleviate pain." "We probably see only one-tenth of one per cent of the actual cases." comments Dr. Markham. "But the ones we do reach are very rewarding." However. Markham feels that education in proper tooth care promises the most far-reaching results for his young patients. Unbelievable as it may seem, many of the poor youngsters in the Glades have never even seen a toothbrush, let alone used one to brush their teeth. "As far as that goes." Dr. Markham laughs, "only one out of every 5 Americans that's you and me and everybody buys one toothbrush a year! " With the cooperation of several school principals in the area. Dr. Markham has been able to get an active program of dental education going in the schools. The idea is to give each indigent child a tube of toothpaste and 2 toothbrushes one for home and one for use at school. "The toothbrush that goes home is all too often lost. With one bathroom for several families, someone is sure to take the child's toothbrush. Sometimes a J ' ' . . 1 nmy ... '1 ""X. 4) Goal Of Operation Toothbrush NOW, JUST RELAX -(Above) Diane Kennedy adjusts the x-ray machine above a worried young patient in the Mobile Dental Clinic. Despite her reassurances, the lad appears to expect the worst. - W M i ll WW j -vl ill . I 1 1 mi CHOMP! CHOMP! - Dr. Gerald Markham, Public Health Service dentist, inspects the impressions for a set of teeth for a patient who will soon be able to chew again. WIDER, PLEASE - (Below) Dr. Gerald Markham looks into the matter of a young rv nntipnt's tppth Mn PatriHn Timltor accicta X. . " ' i , , . and calms the youngster's fears. (Right) 1 Norma Olavarria works as receptionist and translator. I ' v - jrt - - T" ' '' -ife-i''" ' wp'iwwwiumi n , i ifh'wiiiiiwji.. ' " "' . V ' 4-- .j" it . 5 i - i j.) '7, 1 gg1"" r BRIGHT AND SHINY - Mrs. Patricia Tocker, an assistant at the Dental Health Clinic in Belle Glade, operates the polishing machine for Dr. Gerald Markham.

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