Building sustainable, preventive oral health programs

Between 2012 and 2014, Oral Health Colorado (OHCO) and the DentaQuest Foundation combined resources to develop a toolkit to encourage communities to establish sustainable preventive oral health programs in their schools, and to develop relationships with dental providers that will assure dental homes for children.

The easy-to-use Smart Mouths Smart Kids (SMSK) toolkit offered on this website is the culmination of these efforts and seeks to encourage Colorado communities to achieve health equity for disparate populations across the state.  Data cited in both Chew on This, the oral health burden document released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Oral Health Plan released by OHCO, indicate that there are serious oral health inequities experienced by Colorado’s low-income, rural and minority children.  It makes sense to try to eliminate health barriers and inequities by providing services in an environment where children are comfortable and accessible to providers – the public schools.

About the Toolkit

  • OHCO developed SMSK with a variety of audiences in mind:  dental and medical professionals; school nurses, teachers and administrators; dental and medical educators; parents and stakeholders, and partners.
  • The toolkit helps potential partners assess the feasibility of initiating school-linked oral health services and to design and build an oral health program that will be sustainable within a short period of time.
  • The oral health data collection tool (a targeted and focused electronic dental record) is easily used on a tablet, laptop or personal computer.  The data collection tool will allow surveillance of children’s oral health status over time, giving providers, schools and CDPHE much-needed longitudinal data.
  • All aspects of the SMSK toolkit are available at no charge, excluding data collection tool hardware.  You are invited to read through the toolkit and determine how you might undertake the process of building a sustainable model of school-linked oral health care in your community.

See data for the state from our pilot communities.

For more information on OHCO, visit www.oralhealthcolorado.org.

For more information on the DentaQuest Foundation, visit www.dentaquestfoundation.org.