February Is Childrens Dental Health Month
February 23, 2018
February is Children’s Dental Health Month and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) continues to promote good oral health for children and families through preventive dental care.
DOH is committed to improving the oral health of children and families by collecting and analyzing statewide and local data to monitor the oral health status of Florida. During the 2016-2017 school year, the Public Health Dental Program completed their second statewide oral health screening project of Florida’s third grade children. The data collection project occurred in 42 participating elementary schools and dental screenings were provided to 1,685 third grade children.
Preliminary results showed that 1 in 4 third grade children (25.1 percent) had untreated decay, meeting the Healthy People 2020 objective of 25.9 percent. Dental sealants, thin plastic coatings applied to the surface of the teeth that can effectively prevent tooth decay, were present in 40 percent of the third grade children, a slight increase from the 37 percent seen during the 2013-2014 school year. This data shows that Florida also met the Healthy People 2020 objective of at least 28.1 percent of children ages 6-9 years old with dental sealants.
The department’s ever-expanding School-Based Sealant Program now provides services through 54 county health departments in over 750 schools statewide. Every $1 Florida invests in dental sealants saves $1.88 in costs related to treating decaying teeth. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities in the back teeth, where 9 in 10 cavities occur. Currently, the department’s School-Based Sealant Programs are serving more than 46,000 children statewide.
Visit our School-Based Sealant Program homepage to find out more.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.