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Tooth Booth: Duval County dental trailer - Mayport, Florida
On July 15, 1947, less than two years after World War II, Dr. Turner and dental assistant Marjorie Drakeford are treating Loretta Delores Vincent during a Mayport stop. ©State Archives of Florida
Tooth Booth. Dr. Drew H. Turner showing Nora Hartigan dental hygiene in the Duval County dental trailer - Mayport, Florida.
Tooth Booth: The kids are getting checked in at Mayport by Ms. Drakeford and Dr. Turner.
Tooth Booth: Many of the small patients -- and a fair number of the larger ones -- probably fidgeted a lot while waiting in the dental trailer. These residents posed during the May '47 visit to Mayport. (It looks like the shoes have fallen off the tiniest visitors.) In the photo above, Mrs. J. R. King is the woman to the extreme left, and her son Larry is the tike whose head is barely visible in the door.

Mobile Tooth Booth

The Duval County dental trailer came to the oral rescue of residents during the 1940s. On July 15, 1947, the trailer parked at a Mayport school, drawing the locals for examinations and treatment. It must’ve been a tight fit within.

As for the photo to the right, this gap-toothed munchkin is certainly a cutie! Here’s little Nora Hartigan, getting examined by Dr. Turner in the trailer. The dentist and his wife, Eloyse, lived at 3670 Hershel Street in Avondale. His Jax office served the public at 1805 Main Street, near the Klutho Apartments in Springfield.

No doubt the dental trailer caused frowns on some kids when they heard it was coming. In the long run, nevertheless, it probably resulted in much more luminous smiles.

The dental trailer may’ve been affiliated with the State Board of Health, which established a Bureau of Dental Health in 1936, during the Great Depression. The Bureau effected improvements in health education, dental examinations, and treatment services by county health departments throughout Florida. A couple of years after these photos were snapped, moreover, the Bureau proved instrumental in starting the fluoridation of the state’s water supplies. It didn’t anticipate, though, the widespread controversy that the procedure would generate.

~written by Glenn Emery



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