FOX 19 / November 16, 2016
A visit to the dentist can feel like a necessary evil. But many Cincinnati kids never get access to a dental chair.
Considering 60% of decay happens before kindergarten, pediatric dentists believe the long term health impact can be disastrous.
Now, a new initiative is changing the way some Cincinnati kids get dental care.
At Oyler School in Cincinnati, student’s education reaches outside the classroom. Some of life’s lessons are taught in the dental chair.
The clinic at school is small but hygienists use every inch of their tight quarters. Through Children’s Oral Health Network, Delta Dental Center is one of three sustainable clinics inside Cincinnati Public Schools. Staff sees around 25 every day, most are Oyler kids…
At Oyler, kids are seen during school hours, and quality care starts in the waiting room. Hamm says she feels like all 700 of the students at Oyler are her own kids. But being ‘mom’ is a big job, Tiffaney makes sure every student gets a cleaning and follow-up care like fillings. Since the clinic opened four years ago Oyler’s Principal, Amy Randolph, says school attendance is up.
But during the summer, kids were not in the habit of brushing.
“As you can imagine, it almost made me sick to my stomach. I couldn’t believe that we had worked as a team so hard, only to be kind of slapped in the face the fact that we’re obviously missing something,” said Hamm.
Last school year, Hamm changed her approach. A grant allows Oyler to provide pre-pasted, disposable toothbrushes which means kindergarteners, 1st and 2nd graders brush their teeth at the start of every school day. As part of the toothbrush grant, students get to take a home a new brush every Friday.
And last year, Oyler’s class of seniors was the first to graduate cavity free and internships at the on campus clinic have encouraged more students to pursue a degree in the medical field.