The Need for School-Based Oral Health

The L.A. Trust understands oral health to be an essential component of wellness that directly affects students ability to thrive in the classroom.

By third grade, tooth decay affects 71% of students in California (Dental Health Foundation, 2006)

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among American children. Painful and obvious decay compromises one’s ability to eat, sleep, play, and learn, and negatively affects self-esteem and social development. This leads to poor academic performance, as well as missed work days and trouble finding a job. Although tooth decay is entirely preventable, access to preventive disease care is problematic for low-income families. (Pew Center on the States, 2012)

According to California Pan-Ethnic Health Network:

  • Poor oral health can contribute to and worsen serious chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
  • Causes of poor oral health include an inability to access dental providers, barriers due to limited English proficiency, and the cost of dental insurance.
  • Other contributing factors include poverty and food security. As one researcher said, “The disparity in oral health between poor and affluent children in California is the worst in the nation.”

Learn more about dental disease and California’s kids from Children Now

Universal Screening and Fluoride Varnish Program

From April 2013 to June 2017, The L.A. Trust has held 49 Universal Screening and Fluoride Varnish programs across 32 LAUSD sites including Early Education Centers, elementary, middle, and high schools. Nearly 25,000 students and 3,500 parents have received direct oral health education, while a total of 8,160 students received screening and fluoride varnish in addition to oral health education.  Consistently, we find 5% (392) of students are in need of urgent dental care, to which they are immediately linked through a phone call made by program staff to their parent. Screening reports and a dental referral list tailored to each local district are sent home with each student in an effort to connect them to a dental home, regardless of dental problems.


Annual Oral Health Poster Contest

Calling all LAUSD student artists and health leaders! As part of our Oral Health Initiative we want to spread the word about the importance of taking care of our teeth. After all, they have to last us our entire lives! Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to utilize and showcase your artistic talents by creating a poster promoting the importance of proper oral health care. Take a look at the poster contest fact sheet to get started on your artistic way.

Six winners will be selected by our Oral Health Advisory Board. Three (3) poster entries from LAUSD middle schools and three (3) poster entries from LAUSD high schools will receive a gift card ($300 for 1st, $200 for 2nd, $100 for 3rd) and have their design duplicated and distributed for placement in LAUSD Wellness Centers next year!

Take a look at past Oral Health Poster Contest winners here!


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