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about 1 year ago

Oral health is an essential part of overall health. Unfortunately, dental caries (cavities) is the most common chronic childhood disease; five times more common than asthma. Dental problems can affect a child’s stamina and ability to thrive. Fortunately, dental caries is almost entirely preventable when all members of a community have regular access to dental care. Children in the Chicopee schools have had an opportunity to participate in a long lasting dental prevention program for Pre-kindergarten to Grade 7.

Why provide a School-Based Dental Program?

Children are in regular attendance in school

No cost to the family

Care rendered in a familiar environment for the child

Early intervention minimizes dental problems in the future

Good dental health offers each child an opportunity to get a healthy start

Healthy children are more effective learners

Program Goals

Prevention of dental disease

To provide preventive programs (weekly fluoride mouthrinse, dental sealants and dental screening) decreasing incidence of caries (tooth decay) by 30%.

Bridging the gap between child and dental home

To bridge the gap between students who do not visit a dentist with a dental provider. To give a student the opportunity to receive dental care in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated and family-centered centered setting by a dentist. This consistency and familiarity with a dentist can often ease anxiety and promote preventive self-care.

Dental Health Education

At all levels of education, we provide awareness of oral health as an essential part of overall health. The Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health released in May 2000 notes that oral health means more than healthy teeth and the absence of disease. It involves the ability of individuals to carry out essential functions such as eating and speaking, as well as to contribute fully to society.

Description of services

The following dental services are provided by a dental hygienist employed by the Chicopee School Department. Services are free to students but do require parent/guardian permission.

Weekly Fluoride Mouth Rinse—funded by grant from Massachusetts Public Health, Office of Oral Health. The program is free to students that participate. Under supervision, participating students rinse their mouths in school with 10ml of 0.2% neutral sodium fluoride solution for one minute each week. The solution is not swallowed.

Dental Screening/Referral—teeth, gums and oral tissues are screened by dental hygienist; dental needs are assessed, students are instructed on toothbrush use, then referral to dentist for restorative care if needed. Observation notes are sent home, and follow-up.

Classroom Education—dental health curriculum instruction with yearly classroom visits, toothbrush distribution sponsored by PTO

Dental Sealants—funded by grant from Massachusetts Public Health, Office of Oral Health; program is free to students that participate. Thin plastic coatings are applied to pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of the permanent premolars and molars to prevent decay by creating a physical barrier against bacteria and food.

For more information about this dental program, please contact:

Colette Gelinas RDH, MBA—School Dental Program Coordinator • 413-977-0757

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