Dental-kid-in-vanOur Community Oral Health Initiative (COHI) is a fully mobile dentist’s office! We make it easy for children to access quality dental care through our partnership with schools and early childhood education centers within the community. Operating 234 days in the last year, the Care Mobile partnered with 54 sites that included District, Charter, and Parochial schools, foster care centers, and Head Start schools. During the summer months, we served family shelters, summer camps, child care centers, and a Federally Qualified Health Center. Although much of our work is done in conjunction with our partner sites, the Care Mobile is available to all underserved children through community appointments at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children at least two days per month and on Tuesday evenings.

We take special care to keep established patients in addition to reaching out to new patients. COHI functions as a “Child’s Dental Home” by creating a recall system with reminder cards prompts families to schedule maintenance visits. This increased emphasis on routine care has showed tremendous results with a 30% improvement in dental health for our returning patients: 74% are decay-free at their returning check-up. We focus on children who haven’t provided state-required dental examination records to ensure access to care. This strategy has a “win-win” effect: the un-served child finds a dental home and the school meets state requirements for dental exams in specified grade levels.

Classroom dental picAdditionally, the “My Marvelous Mouth” Oral Health Literacy Program (MMM), delivers classroom oral health literacy classes with age appropriate information to children in pre-school programs, kindergarten, 3rd, 7th and 11th grades. We primarily take this program to schools visited by the Care Mobile, although other schools have learned about this high quality program and requested it for their students. Our goal is to create an informed generation of kids who value oral health. In the past year we reached 5,177 children in 224 different classrooms.