The Maine Center for Disease Control – School Oral Health Program (SOHP) has been a part of many school’s programs since the 1980’s. The program started with a weekly fluoride mouth rinse and dental sealants to second graders and classroom education.
The Program has evolved to over the last several years from the mouth rinse to fluoride varnish application twice a year along with dental screenings for the children. In the last year The Maine CDC has met with the Department of Education’s School Nurse Consultant, Emily Poland and an advisory group to restructure the SOHP with the goal to make implementation of the activities of the program easier for schools and school nurses. We understand that school nurses have many demands for their time and school resources are very tight. We surveyed the school nurses this past Spring for feedback on a restructure of the SOHP. We had a 99% response rate back and 91%, responded stating they were in favor of a new structure to the SOHP.
A newly designed SOHP has been designed to fit the needs of Maine schools as well as the Maine Center for Disease Control. District public health hygienists will work with schools to provide dental screenings, fluoride varnish, dental sealants (when applicable), dental education and care coordination. The district hygienist will be working with school nurses and staff throughout this upcoming school year to provide these services at our participating schools.
Dental decay in children is still the most common childhood disease. Over 51 million hours of school time is lost annually due to dental disease. Maine is working towards reducing the rate of dental decay among Maine’s school children.
For more information contact Nicole Breton, Director of Rural Health and Primary Care at Nicole.Breton@maine.gov or 287-5524.