Oral Health Initiative

The L.A. Trust Oral Health Initiative

The L.A. Trust understands oral health to be an essential, albeit often overlooked, 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.”

Click here to view a one-pager about dental disease and California’s kids.

The L.A. Trust Oral Health Initiative

The L.A. Trust’s Oral Health Initiative works to address this crucial issue in three areas:
  • Providing community-wide oral health education
  • Providing direct preventive care and early intervention on school campuses
  • Linking all elementary school campuses to restorative care

School-Based Oral Health Provider Map

Universal Screening and Fluoride Varnish Program

To date, The L.A. Trust has held 38 Universal Screening and Fluoride Varnish programs across 25 LAUSD sites. A total of 6,878 students received screening, oral health education, and fluoride varnish. A dental referral list tailored to their geographic area, have been sent home with each student. Consistently, we find 5% (314) of students in need of urgent dental care, to which they are immediately linked. More than 20,000 students have been reached as part of our educational efforts around oral health. Letters and a referral list were sent home with each student regardless of dental problems, and the Oral Health Resource Nurse directly contacted the parents of the 314 students in need of urgent dental care.

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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!