Healthy Smiles in Manawa
County program offers dental exams
By Holly Neumann
Healthy Smiles for Waupaca County recently paid a visit to the Manawa School District, offering an oral health screening, fluoride varnish placement, dental sealants, along with referrals for dental treatment if needed.
“Services are offered to all children at no cost to the child or their family,” said Aimee Bestul, program manager and lead clinician. “All families have to do is return the child’s consent form and they will receive services.”
Students review tooth brushing instruction and oral health education is provided. Each child is supplied with a new toothbrush and toothpaste.
“Our main goal is finding dental homes and regular dental care for every child,” Bestul said.
From September 2017 to June 2018, 2,601 children throughout Waupaca County were screened.
“Sealants were placed on 5,378 teeth, 331 children were referred for dental care, with 35 of those being urgent,” she said.
Dental sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities in back teeth, where nine in 10 cavities occur.
“Sealants are a quick, easy and painless way to prevent most cavities children get and can be applied by a dentist or dental hygienist at your child’s school,” said Bestul. “Applying sealants in schools saves your child time away from class and prevents your child from developing cavities which can cause pain, discomfort and make eating or concentrating in class difficult.”
She went on to say that one in three Wisconsin children are living with untreated dental decay, the most preventable chronic disease in the United States. Poor health and untreated oral disease/conditions can largely affect the ability to learn.
“In addition, disproportionate levels of access to oral health care exist in minority and low-income populations,” Bestul said. “Children miss about 52 million hours of school each year because of dental problems.”
Healthy Smiles for Waupaca County is partially funded through a grant from the Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile program.
Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile is the statewide school-based sealant program that is administered by Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Oral Health Program and Delta Dental of Wisconsin. Statewide more than 60,000 children receive services through this program.
The program also receives funding through reimbursement from the states medical assistance program.
Healthy Smiles Waupaca County is a service provided by Waupaca County Public Health.
“We serve both private and public schools in Waupaca County,” Bestul said. “We love what we do; serving the children and families. We can see any child from pre-K thru 12th grade.”
For more information on this program, visit www.chawisconsin.org/sas/.
To register a student for services, visit https://sealasmile.wisconsin.gov/Consent/Home/About.