Something to Smile About, as Family Health Centers at NYU Langone Celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month
by Colin DeVries | 10:12 AM | Thursday, March 07, 2019
February was National Children’s Dental Health Month, and staff across the Family Health Centers (FHC) at NYU Langone raised awareness about the importance of dental hygiene and receiving regular care. (Pictured left, staff members at the Seventh Avenue FHC location celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month.)
“Children in the communities we serve have many obstacles that prevent them from receiving to quality dental care,” said Margaret Mason, DDS, vice president and chief administrator, Department of Dental Medicine, NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn. These can include lack of access to affordable and convenient services, as well as limited understanding about how good dental care from an early age can have a positive effect on lifelong health. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children visit a dentist by age 1 or when their first tooth comes in. Regular checkups provide a foundation for a lifetime of oral health and help prevent cavities, which in addition to causing pain can lead to medical issues, trouble concentrating in school, and other problems.
To help overcome barriers to receiving regular care, the FHC offers comprehensive dental services at 36 school-based dental clinics. All students are eligible to receive care, regardless of insurance or ability to pay.
“One of the most effective programs that we offer is the Family Health Centers’ Dental School Health program,” said Dr. Mason. “The majority of children seen in our school-based dental clinics use us as their dental home, as many of them do not see any other dental provider. We are here to close that gap and provide quality dental care.”
Above, adult medicine staff members at the Sunset Park FHC. In recognition of National Medical Children’s Dental Health Month, medical and dental staff collaborated to boost referrals between their services.
Dental care for children and adults is also provided at FHC locations throughout Brooklyn. In celebration of the awareness month, staff developed a campaign to encourage patients who receive medical care through the FHC to make dental appointments at the practices, and vice-versa. “We took this as an opportunity to enhance collaboration, to help ensure patients are taking advantage of our services and receiving a full complement of preventive care,” said Derek Nichols, manager for special populations for the FHC Department of Dental Medicine.
There were also banners, special t-shirts for dental patient services associates, and giveaways of toothbrushes for patients who made and kept appointments, all in celebration of pediatric dental health.
This was the FHC’s inaugural celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month. Next year they hope to expand their outreach and education efforts in the communities they serve.
Staff members at the Flatbush Family Health Center at NYU Langone in their National Children’s Dental Health Month t-shirts.