What Educators Can Do

Focus Area 1: Workforce

  • Develop curricula that ensure that dental and dental hygiene students are trained in business models, practice philosophies and cultural competency that support successful businesses in underserved areas of Colorado.
  • Develop curricula for dental and dental hygiene students that address current access tocare issues.
  • Develop curricula that teach medical, dental and hygiene students about dental public health and programs that help the under-served, such as Head Start and WIC.
  • Recruit diverse, culturally competent dental and dental hygiene candidates at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
  • Devise outreach programs that place dental and dental hygiene students in school-based health centers in order to provide oral health care to the community.
  • Participate in the statewide initiative to develop and disseminate sustainable models of in-school oral health care, and help to educate parents about the importance of positive oral health behaviors (e.g., K–12 school systems).
  • Participate in Cavity Free at Three and other oral health improvement efforts to ensure that children aged 1-3 years have regular oral health care and parents receive appropriate anticipatory guidance (e.g., Head Start, preschools, child care).
  • Assess and develop university curricula that support the education and training needs of oral health providers in order to practice in an expanded range of settings, and with increasingly culturally diverse populations.
  • Support policy makers, government and funders in developing practice standards and best practice models that will ensure high quality oral health care in Colorado.
  • Use models of in-school oral health care that most effectively and efficiently utilize the education, training and skills of all provider types (e.g., K-12 education systems and early childhood education).
  • Incorporate the Smiles for Life or Cavity Free at Three curricula into medical curricula.
  • Educate students in all health professions about preventive oral health, the age 1-year dental visit and application of fluoride varnish.
  • Develop curricula for medical, nursing and allied health professional schools regarding oral health as a key component of general health.
  • Prioritize and integrate local screening, preventive service or comprehensive oral health programs into coordinated school health programs.

Focus Area 2: Infrastructure

  • Ensure that evidenced-based oral health practices are a part of the health curriculum in school systems.
  • Advocate for excellent oral health preventive services in the schools that have significant oral health needs.
  • Encourage children and parents to provide leadership in the development of preventive oral health services in the schools.
  • Disseminate information about the benefits of water fluoridation.
  • Educate parents on the benefits of water fluoridation and sealants.
  • Speak up in order to combat misinformation promulgated by anti-fluoride advocates.

Focus Area 3: Financing

  • Share stories from patients about oral health experiences with decision-makers and the community.

Focus Area 4: Systems of Care

  • Expand oral health literacy for new parents and caregivers using a variety of media and messaging.
  • Ensure that dental and dental hygiene education focuses on care for high-risk populations and that students are well trained in providing care for those populations.
  • Ensure that dental and dental hygiene students are well trained in providing appropriate care for high risk populations.
  • Increase oral health literacy for new parents and caregivers.

Focus Area 5: Health Promotion

  • Participate in media campaigns to ensure consistent messaging.
  • Include oral health information as part of school health education.
  • Read story books about oral health to young children.
  • Include the role nutrition plays in oral health in curricula.
  • Include oral health as part of overall prenatal health and better birth outcomes.
  • Observe children in the classroom for oral health issues/problems.
  • Incorporate oral health as a part of Coordinated School Health.
  • Train nurses to be able to conduct oral health screenings at child care centers.
  • Train WIC and Head Start staff to do oral health screenings for participants in these programs.
  • Promote drinking fluoridated tap water instead of bottled water.
  • Offer education sessions at long-term care and nursing home facilities, and community focal points (e.g., church)
  • Implement a train-the-trainer model of outreach to facilities where the elderly live, work, play (e.g., RN, dietitians, CNA’s, Promotoras).
  • Health professional schools include an older adult outreach oral health internship or rotation.

Focus Area 6: Health Equity

  • Highlight social responsibility and develop business models that encourage serving the underserved (e.g., at health professional schools).
  • Participate in Coordinated School Health efforts and teams (e.g., at public and private k-12 schools).
  • Share anecdotes and stories on frequency of children being  sent to the school nurse or  home or unable to learn due to oral pain and swelling.
  • Share all relevant data and facts relating to the negative effects of oral problems on students’ success in school.
  • Cooperate with local oral health advocates.
  • Support the inclusion of oral health services and education in schools.
  • Enforce tobacco-free policies


Community Health Organization

An individual who provides knowledge or training to promote oral health.