Free Dental Care for 2nd-Graders at Title 1 Schools
TAMPA – The Florida Department of Health of Hillsborough County, the Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa Family Health Centers, Suncoast Community Health Centers and MORE Health Inc have joined forces to provide dental sealants, fluoride varnish and oral health education to second grade students in Title 1 schools with a high enrollment of students receiving free or reduced lunches in Hillsborough County.
The goal of the program is to prevent tooth loss and decay through increased knowledge, improved behavior, and preventive care.
“Improving access to oral health care is a critical and necessary first step to improving oral health outcomes and reducing disparities,” said Dr. Doug Holt, MD, Director, Florida Department of Health of Hillsborough County, “This is an important partnership for our community as it links oral health education with on-site dental services to children with the greatest need.”
To date, more than 450 students have received services on one of our partner’s mobile dental clinics at one of eight elementary schools in Hillsborough County. Plans are in the works to expand the program next year to 16 schools.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 51 million school hours per year are lost because of dental-related illness. Studies show that early tooth loss caused by dental decay can result in failure to thrive, impaired speech development, absence from and inability to concentrate in school, and reduced self-esteem. Additionally, poor oral health has been related to decreased school performance, poor social relationships, and less success later in life.
For more information on dental sealant programs please visit the CDC @ http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/topics/dental_sealant_programs.htm.