A Healthy Start to the School Year: Spotlight on Denver Health

Youth with backpacks walk away on a sidewalk

It’s back to school time! This is an exciting season for Colorado families, and time to recognize the role oral health for school-aged children plays in the community. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry have long recognized that oral health is fundamental to a child’s overall health and development. In Colorado, schools, community organizations, and dental clinicians partner to promote oral health initiatives, including dental screenings and fluoride varnish programs. These school-based programs play a critical role in the oral health of Colorado children and often go beyond a school-based screening. 

Denver Health is one example of how a comprehensive and integrated program can serve the needs of families. Denver Health has several School Sealant Programs and School-Based Health Centers throughout the Denver metro area. Families are able to receive care in the clinic, which serves as a point-of-care for more comprehensive services such as assessing families for oral healthcare needs and addressing primary and behavioral healthcare needs, while providing person-centered care that takes the social determinants of health into consideration. The story of one child who came into the Denver Health clinic shows how an integrated approach ultimately served to improve the health and wellbeing of an entire family. Last year, Denver Health identified a child with severe dental decay. After extending support to all of the child’s siblings, Denver Health was able to connect the family members to medical and behavioral health clinicians in order to address chronic conditions, developmental concerns, and preventive care gaps. 

This is just one of many examples of how an integrated approach and partnerships ultimately improve the lives of Colorado families. If you would like to connect around oral health interventions happening in schools near you or if you have any questions to be passed along to Denver Health about their program and implementation, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Oral Health Unit’s Child and School Oral Health Coordinator at robyn.maestas@state.co.us.

To learn more about school-based oral health and find resources, please explore this website!