Wellbeing (e.g. Youth, Community, Mental)
Sharing Session - 60 Minutes
Dental care continues to be the largest unmet health need of children in the United States. Tooth decay, although almost entirely preventable, persists as the most common chronic childhood disease. Dental sealants are the most effective method of preventing caries in permanent molars, and a school-based sealant program is a highly-effective approach to improving dental access to such a large number of children in the community.
A hygiene workforce model is utilized in the processes of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County’s (DOH-Broward) School-Based Sealant program, which allows a licensed health care professional to deliver valuable services to an increased proportion of underserved members of the community while also being cost-efficient. At the request of the Broward County School Board, the dental hygienists of DOH-Broward’s School-Based Sealant program provide dental cleanings, sealants, fluoride varnish treatments, and oral health education to students attending Pre-Kindergarten to 8th grade in 256 public elementary and middle schools, including charter schools, throughout Broward County.
From the program’s inception in March 2016 through Oct. 2018, over 60,000 underserved children have received preventive dental services in a classroom setting that they otherwise would not have accessed, many of whom participate in the program each year it is offered at their school. Each of the program’s hygienists provide dental services to an average 19 children per day. It is anticipated that the program will provide dental services to over 60,000 children throughout the duration of the 2018-2019 school year.