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One Community Health’s dental team provides free sealants to Odell Elementary student. The program is now being expanded to serve more kids in Hood River County School District.

Evidence shows there’s a direct link between students’ oral health and academic success. In response, One Community Health (OCH) has ramped up its school-based sealant program for the 2019-2020 year, efforts that include expansion of its services to more youth and stronger program goals in the Hood River County School District.

The sealant program is made possible by a partnership between the school district and One Community Health, with funding from the Oregon Children’s Dental Health Initiative and both the Oregon Community Foundation and the Columbia Gorge Coordinated Care Organization. Students receive free sealants at an onsite mobile dental clinic, managed by members of the One Community Health dental team.

But here’s the catch: Parents are asked to sign a form, indicating whether or not their child can receive this the free sealants.

In years past, the forms haven’t always been signed by parents, so students potentially in need of either new sealants or replacement sealants haven’t received them, putting them at risk for cavities, other forms of tooth decay, and a host of issues that develop around dental health challenges.

“Last year’s return rate for the forms was 35.9 percent, and this year we are targeting a 50 percent return rate,” said Dental Hygienist Sylvianna Marquez, who supervises the program on behalf of One Community Health.

“In addition, we served grades 1-3 and 6-7 during the 2018-2019 school year. We’ve increased access for this upcoming academic year, now offering sealants to kids in grades 1-8 and 14 year olds at the high school. It’s going to be a much bigger program with the goal to help a signicantly higher number of kids,” she said.

Parents had the option of signing up Aug. 21-22 at Hood River and Wy’east middle schools; on Sept. 2, parents will have the same opportunity at Hood River Valley High School. During these events, parents are encouraged to stop by the sealant program table to sign forms and enroll their child for this free program.

For more information, email smarquez@onecommunityhealth.org.

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