School-Based Oral Health Programs
School-Based Health Programs are programs that are attached to or operate inside the school which focus on comprehensive health care. These can include school-based health centers1 and programs which bring health professionals2 to the school for treatment. Often oral health is addressed by separate school-based oral health programs focused on preventive efforts such as fluoride varnish and sealants.
A literature review "by the Division of Adolescent and School Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified school-based health promotional intervention that not only improved health attitudes and behaviors, but also improved their academic performance. School-based health canters also have been shown to improve children and adolescents' health for several outcomes while reducing health care costs. Students who use school-based health centers also have higher satisfaction with their health status and have healthier behaviors, such as more physical activity and greater consumption of healthier foods."3
School-Based Programs in Texas
Texas has both school-based health centers and oral health programs which bring dental providers to the schools or bus students to the providers to receive preventive and/or restorative dental services.
"Today, there are approximately 89 school-based health centers serving the children of Texas as reported by the Texas Association of School-Based Health Centers.4 Most of these centers are located in a permanent facility on a school campus. The centers on average are open for treatment about 40 hours per week for physical health care, 37 hours per week for mental health care and about 4 hours per week for dental care."
School-based dental sealant programs are also available in Texas "to some students who qualify at selected low-income schools. A parent or guardian needs to read, complete and sign the consent form, and have the child return the form to the teacher" to complete the general eligibility requirements for student participation.5
Some of the school-based oral health programs in Texas are:
Dental Health Arlington - SMILES Program
"SMILES School-based Preventive Program annually benefits over 9,000 children in area elementary schools where at least 50% of the students are on the free and reduced lunch program. In the schools served, the average percentage of kids on the free or reduced lunch program is 87%. Children in first, second and third grades receive oral health education and a new toothbrush. Second and third graders are screened by a dental professional and a note is sent home to parents about the child’s oral health condition. With signed parental permission, sealants are applied to healthy first molars and fluoride is applied to stop and prevent further decay at the school campus using portable dental equipment."6
Miles of Smiles - San Antonio and Laredo
"The Miles of Smiles program provides preventive oral health services from dental health professionals to children in kindergarten, second and third grades at no cost to parents, children, or schools. Currently, Miles of Smiles is providing services in two Texas cities: Laredo and San Antonio."7 Miles of Smiles is a collaborative effort between UT Health Science Center San Antonio and San Antonio Metro Health.
Project Saving Smiles - Houston
Project Saving Smiles (PSS) is a school-based oral health effort to provide dental care to underserved second graders in Houston. "Using an evidence and community-based public health dental approach, Project Saving Smiles (PSS) provides dental screening, dental sealants, fluoride varnish, and oral health education free of charge targeting 2nd graders enrolled in the Free or Reduced Lunch Program and who have written parental consent."8
St. David's Foundation
St. David’s Foundation is committed to bringing Healthy Smiles to Central Texas through the St. David’s Dental Program, a collaboration that brings mobile dental clinics to high needs schools and social service agencies in Travis, Williamson and Hays counties, and provides grants to community-based dental clinics and programs though our Healthy Smiles Program. With the largest fleet of mobile dental clinics in the country, St. David's Dental Program offers free dental screenings, sealants and acute care to children at Title I elementary schools across six school districts in Central Texas. Each of the nine vans is equipped with two dental exam rooms, digital x-rays, and computer workstations. The vans are staffed by licensed dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants.9
Cook Children's Save a Smile Program
Families with limited access to health care will be empowered to improve the overall health of their children by using oral health and community resources to create lasting change. The Mission of the Save a Smile program is to provide a collaborative, community based, volunteer driven program that connects families to access to dental care for children pre-kindergarten through third grade in targeted Title schools in Tarrant county who have severe oral disease or oral health problems. Volunteer dentists provide care in their offices for children identified as Class 1, some Class 2 children an additional children needing treatment. All children received an oral health kit and are 100% free of dental pain and disease when completing treatment. Social services support dental treatment:
- Set dental appointments
- Information about preventive dental care
- Connect with community resources10
1.“School-Based Health Centers.” Texas School Health Program, Department of State Health Services. N. p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
2. SUBCHAPTER B. SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CENTERS. EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 38. HEALTH AND SAFETY. Sec. 38.051 and 38.056. 15 Apr. 2014.
3. Stablein, George. “The Charleston Gazette | George Stablein: 20 Years of School-Based Health Improves Students’ Lives.” The Charleston Gazette 6 Apr. 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
4. “Texas Association of School-Based Health Centers.” N. p., n.d.
5. “Dental Sealant Program.” Texas Department of State Health Services. N. p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
6. “Dentalhealtharlington.” N. p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
7. “Miles of Smiles.” UT Health Science Center San Antonio. N. p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
8. “Dental Services.” City of Houston. N. p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
9. "Dental Program." St. David's Foundation Web. 29 Jan. 2018.
10. "Save a Smile", The center for Children's Health led by Cook Children's. 9 Feb. 2018.
School-Based Program Resources
School Oral Health Resource Library
The School-Based Health Alliance is pleased to announce the launch of the School Oral Health Resource Library. The information and tools are organized around eight components of school oral health: education; screening and risk assessments; preventive care; care coordination; cleaning, exams and treatments; integrated services; data and program evaluation; and sustainability. The School-Based Health Alliance wants to continue to grow this resource. School oral health programs and professionals are encouraged to submit additional tools and resources. To submit resources, please use the New Resource Submission Form. If you have any questions, please email Nataki Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center (OHRC) Promoting Oral Health in Schools: A Resource Guide.
Promoting healthy behaviors among students is an important part of the fundamental mission of schools. To assist in this effort, OHRC produced Promoting Oral Health in Schools: A Resource Guide (3rd ed.) to help health professionals, program administrators, educators, and others promote oral health and prevent oral disease in school-age children and adolescents. The resource guide is divided into two sections. The first section describes materials, such as brochures, fact sheets, guidelines, curricula, and reports. The second section lists federal agencies and national professional associations, coalitions, and resource centers that may serve as resources. Your state and local departments of health and state and local oral-health-related associations, coalitions, and societies are additional sources of information.
The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center (OHRC) Resource Highlights, School Oral Health Services
This collection of selected resources offers high-quality information about oral health services for school-age children and adolescents. Use the tools below for further searching, or contact us for personalized assistance.
Texas Association of School-Based Health Centers
Texas DSHS, School Health Program - School-Based Health Centers
ASTDD Best Practices Report on School-based Dental Sealant Programs
CDC School-based Dental Sealant Programs
Seal America: The Prevention Invention
School-based Dental Health: Considerations for Program Development
Ohio School-Based Dental Sealant Programs
Welcome to School-Based Dental Sealant Programs, a series of modules designed to ensure that school-based dental sealant program staff have a thorough understanding of the history, operations, and underlying principles of these programs.
Selecting a School-based Oral Health Care Program - Questions and Answers for School Staff (State of Michigan)
Selecting a School-based Oral Health Program(State of Wisconsin)
National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center - Oral Health Opportunities in School-Based Health Centers (October 2010 Issue Brief)
The Neglected Epidemic and the Surgeon General's Report: A Call to Action for Better Oral Health
The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools
Nurses, Oral Health Assessment for School Nurses