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Bringing Smiles to the Community

Thursday, February 3, 2022

February is children’s dental health month and Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department is working in schools and childcare centers throughout the district to help keep children’s teeth healthy. Although tooth decay is preventable, most children in Nebraska still get cavities. The health department’s Smile in Style children’s oral health program helps keep children’s teeth healthy by providing community-based preventative dental services. “We provide community based dental services at schools and childcare centers” says Kerri Dittrich, a Public Health Dental Hygienist who helps coordinate the Smile in Style program. As a Public Health Dental Hygienist, Dittrich is able to provide certain dental services such as oral health screenings, fluoride varnish treatments, and dental sealants and oral health education in the community. These preventative dental services help reduce the chance that a child will develop tooth decay. “Public Health Dental Hygienists play an important role in expanding access to oral health care for many who may not receive dental care on a regular basis, and also for those who need preventative treatment to supplement their regular dental visits.” During the past program year, Smile in Style provided dental services to over 800 children, 41% of whom indicated they do not receive regular dental care. “Smile in Style helps to identify children who may need help finding a dental home where they can receive regular care. We work with parents/guardians to refer children to local dental providers as needed.”

Smile in Style began in 2010 to provide services at childcare sites. In 2019, the program was expanded into local schools and began offering additional services such as dental sealants. “We are excited to continue to grow this program and reach more children. This will be our first year to offer the Smile in Style program at several Norfolk Public elementary schools.” Smile in Style is able to sustain program operations through donations from community organizations, parents/guardians of program participants, and reimbursement for services from Nebraska Medicaid. “We appreciate donations for services provided, but no child is denied services even if a donation is not made, so we really appreciate all of the support we receive from the community. Currently, we have the opportunity through an anonymous fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation to have any donations received matched dollar for dollar up to $125,000. This would help us to continue to expand the outreach and impact of this important oral health program.” “Good oral health is so important for good overall health. Over time through this program, we can really have a positive impact on the children in our community.”


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Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department

Address

PO Box 779
2104 21st Circle
Wisner, NE 68791

Phone

402.529.2233
877.379.4400
After Hours: 402.841.8110

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