The goal of the School Smile Program is to reduce dental decay and dental decay disparities among children in grades K-8 by providing classroom dental education, dental health assessments, fluoride varnish application, sealant placement, and referrals for treatment. The program prioritizes schools with the greatest percentage of students participating in the Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program. Students in grades 2, 3, and 6 are also prioritized because their molars typically erupt and become eligible for sealants around the age of students in these grades. Community Action Partnership coordinates the program, partnering with community clinics and independent Registered Dental Hygienists in Alternative Practice to conduct dental assessments and provide dental services. The Department of Health Services funds and evaluates the program. The core components of the program are:
- Classroom Education - Community Health Workers lead an education module on hidden sugars, healthy drinks and foods, and oral health techniques.
- Dental Assessment - A visual survey of the mouth which assesses the presence of untreated decay, treated decay, urgent dental problems and presence or need for dental sealants
- Fluoride Varnish Application - A fluoride treatment is painted onto tooth surfaces to prevent decay
- Sealant Placement – Dental providers apply sealants, thin plastic coatings applied to the biting surfaces of molars, to prevent decay. They may remain on the tooth for several years, providing lasting decay prevention.
- Referral – Students receive referral for treatment if needed.
- Case Management – A referral list is sent home with the students after the screening. Students with urgent needs are followed up as soon as possible after the screening date by the school nurse and the CAP staff.
Accepted to the Portfolio: October 2016