School Nurses and Administrators
Did you know that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease? 67% of Texas third graders have experienced tooth decay. Left untreated, tooth decay can lead to:
- Missed school
Basic Screening Survey of Texas Children Begins Fall 2022
The Texas Oral Health Basic Screening Survey begins in the 2022-2023 school year. To learn more, visit our Dental Health Data and Reporting page.
Texas children need you!
School nurses can help combat this chronic and very treatable disease by hosting a Smiles in Schools event and integrating oral health education into school health programs.
Smiles in Schools (SiS)
SiS is a state public health program. Licensed dental professionals can visit your campus with mobile dental equipment. There is no cost for the school and children receive preventative dental services at no cost. Parents receive a results form after their child's screening. The results form helps parents understand the dental needs of their child and tells them what to do next. Watch this video to learn more.
The school nurse plays a pivotal role in the success of SiS clinics. Regional dental teams need the assistance of the school nurse or another staff member to get permission forms from parents. The forms help the team to prepare for the clinic so that it is quick and efficient. Contact your regional dental team to start planning a SiS dental clinic. Visit the SiS page for more information.
Nurses: Watch this video to learn more about oral health and what you need to do to host an SiS event.
Parents: Watch this video to learn more about how your child can participate. A signed form is required to receive services.
Note: Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) promotes the Dental Home. Services provided by DSHS regional dental teams do not replace regular visits to the dentist.
SiS Nurse Toolkit
- A welcome letter from the public health dental director
- A brochure that explains Smile in Schools mobile dental clinics
- A faxable form to begin the next step
- Information for students on the relationship between oral health and learning in English and Spanish
- A sample parent permission form and a sample result of dental evaluation form for parents
- An oral hygiene poster for your school in English and Spanish, and
- Flyers to display at school and send home to inform parents of the upcoming clinic.
Other Ways to Promote Good Oral Health
- Display dental health posters.
- Work with school administrators and parents to provide healthy food and drinks in school vending machines.
- Make oral health a part of health classes. Teach students how to brush, floss, and make healthy food and drink choices.
- Preventing Dental Caries Through School-Based Sealant Programs (2009 Journal of The American Dental Association (JADA)) reported recommendations for dental sealant use in school-based sealant programs.
- Evidence-based clinical practice guideline on non-restorative treatments for carious lesions (2018 Journal of The American Dental Association (JADA)) includes clinical recommendations from the American Dental Association.