One Community Health Expands Dental Sealant Services to More Youth, Sets Stronger Program Goals
Free School-Based Program at Hood River Valley Schools aims to boost cavity prevention rates and empower student success.
HOOD RIVER, Ore., Aug.19, 2019 — Evidence shows there’s a direct link between students’ oral health and academic success. In response, One Community Health (OCH) has ramped up its school-based sealant program for the 2019/2020 year, efforts that include expansion of its services to more youth and stronger program goals in the Hood River Valley School District.
The sealant program is made possible by a partnership between the school district and One Community Health, with funding from the Oregon Children’s Dental Health Initiative and both the Oregon Community Foundation and the Columbia Gorge Coordinated Care Organization. Students receive free sealants at an onsite mobile dental clinic, managed by members of the One Community Health dental team. But here’s the catch: Parents are asked to sign the form, indicating whether or not their child can receive this the free sealants. In year’s past, the forms haven’t always been signed by parents, so students potentially in need of either new sealants or replacement sealants haven’t received them, putting them at risk for cavities, other forms of tooth decay, and a host of issues that develop around dental health challenges.
“Last year’s return rate for the forms was 35.9 percent, and this year we are targeting a 50 percent return rate,” says Dental Hygienist Sylvianna Marquez, who supervises the program on behalf of One Community Health. “In addition, we served grades 1-3 and 6-7 during the 2018/2019 school year. We’ve increased access for this upcoming academic year, now offering sealants to kids in grades 1-8 and 14 year olds at the high school. It’s going to be a much bigger program with the goal to help a signicantly higher number of kids.”
Again, getting the permission forms signed is key to the program’s success. According to Marquez, some parents don’t sign the forms because their child has received sealants from a dentist in the past and assume the sealant is in tact.
“Sealants can wear off over time and need to be reapplied,” Marquez says. “Also, during the six months between cleanings with their regular dentist any sealants lost pose a risk of a cavity in you child’s permanent molar. What’s great about this free program is it places sealants on anyone in need, as long as that permission form is signed. We also talk to youth about oral hygiene, screen them for any issues, and provide recommendations for service if needed.”
Two opportunities for parents to sign forms are coming right up:
· August 21, 11am-6pm, Wy’East Middle School
· August 22, 10am-6pm, Hood River Middle School
· September 2, Hood River Valley High School
During these events, parents are encouraged to stop by the sealant program table to sign forms, enroll their child for this free program, and learn more from One Community Health about the good oral health and its link to the success of kids in school. Meanwhile, all eligiable students in the district will receive registration forms via their teachers and can learn more from school secretaries at all Hood River Valley schools.
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About One Community Health
One Community Health (OCH) is a nonprofit, Federally Qualified Health Center with locations in The Dalles and Hood River, Ore. Formerly known as La Clínica del Cariño Family Health Care Center, Inc., it was founded in 1986 and, today, has evolved into an official Patient-Centered Primary Care Home. OCH currently provides services to more than 12,000 patients. In addition, OCH excels in providing educational programs and support that reflect its integrated approach to health and wellbeing. Dedicated to advancing health and social justice for all its community members, OCH serves patients from the Mid-Columbia River Gorge Region: Wasco, Hood River, Klickitat and Skamania Counties.
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