School systems provide an excellent opportunity for oral health intervention in the community. OHCE collaborates with schools, local health departments, and providers in safety-net oral health systems to monitor the oral health status of children and the outcomes of community-based intervention strategies, educate key stakeholders about the importance of oral health, and provide them with technical assistance to improve oral health services for children in the community.

Oral Health Surveillance

The OHCE conducts on-site surveys of 3rd grade children and/or pre-school children using the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors’ (ASTDD) Basic Screening Survey method in accordance with the New York State Oral Health Surveillance System Protocol. The survey findings assist state and local communities with monitoring the oral health status and needs of the population as well as the outcomes of population-based interventions, and with the planning and development of strategies to achieve the NYS Prevention Agenda.

Fluoride Mouthrinse Program

New York State Department of Health offers school-based weekly fluoride mouthrinse program to children in the 1st to 8th grades who are attending schools at elevated oral health needs. OHCE provides administrative and technical assistance to participating schools and NYS Department of Health to ensure safe and effective implementation of the program.

Preventive Dentistry Programs

The NYS Department of Health provides grant funding to 25 oral health programs in local health units, health centers, hospitals and dental schools in the high-need communities statewide to provide primary preventive services. Their activities include:

  • Partnerships to promote fluoridation, dental sealants and other disease prevention interventions
  • School-based dental sealant programs
  • School-linked dental programs
  • Improving oral health of pregnant women and mothers
  • Early childhood caries prevention



School-based or –linked program grantees are OHCE’s partners in our statewide oral health surveillance activities. Together, we collaboratively build best practices in surveillance programs and implementation of school oral health services throughout New York State.

Dental Health Certificate

In 2007 New York State passed a law requiring schools  to request a Dental Health Certificate upon a student’s entrance into public school or upon entry into K, 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 10th grades. The purpose of the School Dental Health Certificate Program is to determine whether a child is in “fit condition of dental health to permit his/her attendance at schools” by providing a clinical assessment. However, the law does not mandate schools receive the certificate or a child to receive the needed dental care. School officials are working closely with dental professionals to assure unmet dental care needs among students are not overlooked. Although great strides have been made, there is still much to be done.