National Children’s Dental Health Month
(Photo) Eve Pomazi, former SVTAHEC intern who went into schools pre-COVID, with a dental hygienist to educate children about good dental care.
As we celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month, we want to recognize those organizations in southern Vermont that are passionate about children’s oral healthcare like GBICS Bennington, Stratton Foundation and the Rural Oral Health Access Initiative. They make dental care a priority by expanding access, education, and distributing free toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss to schools, day cares, and others in need.
For more information on these programs contact:
Marty Hammond, Oral Health Project Coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dental Care for Kids
“When I applied to C-SHIP I had just barely considered dentistry as a future career. Thanks to this internship, I am confident that I want to be a dentist and practice in Vermont.”
– C-SHIP Program Alumna
An Intern’s Perspective on the Importance of Dental Care for Children
National Children’s Dental Health Month
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, an opportunity to raise awareness for the importance of oral healthcare for our children. Teaching brushing, flossing, and healthy eating in encouraging ways can show children these are not chores but can, in fact, be fun!
During the summer of 2018, I participated in Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center’s (STVAHEC) College Healthcare Internship Program (C-SHIP). I worked with an inspiring dental hygienist, Barbara Hodgkins, in a program providing free dental cleanings to children in rural Vermont childcare centers. I helped with cleanings, led dental education lessons, demonstrated brushing on a plush toy dinosaur, and handed out goodie bags.
I was disheartened by how many children weren’t signed up for this free program because I found it was often children who needed care the most. I remember one child said to us, “My mommy doesn’t remind me to brush, so I don’t really do it.” Barb squeezed his hand and encouraged him, “Even if mommy doesn’t, I think you can remember all on your own!” That moment inspired me to pursue a career in dentistry.
In the fall of 2021, I worked in a pediatric dental office. Many children had travelled over three hours for their appointment. Some were missing an entire day of school or already had missed school because of toothaches. The appointments were one hour, and there were children with multiple cavities, so we couldn’t complete the treatment during that time, and they would have to come back.
We can all help our children practice healthy dental habits. Encourage your dental professionals to give demonstrations on good oral hygiene in school. Support teachers in incorporating the importance of dental care into curriculum. Donate toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss to schools and community-based organizations that serve children and families. Volunteer yourself!
This past summer I worked with SVTAHEC to create dental health education videos for Vermont’s children, covering topics like proper brushing and flossing techniques, healthy eating, and cavity formation. Our goal is for these videos to be made available for use in every school and dental health care office across Vermont.
I decided I want to be a dentist largely because of these early experiences with pediatric dentistry. The more I learn the better equipped I will be to influence policies that increase the number of children with access to appropriate dental care. I am very grateful to my SVTAHEC advisors for encouraging and guiding me. With their support, I was accepted to dental school and will begin my training in August 2022!
This article was written by Eve Pomazi, former intern in Southern Vermont Area Health Education’s (SVTAHEC) College Healthcare Internship Program (C-SHIP).
Medicaid/CHIP Information in Vermont
Medicaid in Vermont
- Green Mountain Care Medicaid Program Information
- Dr. Dynasaur Program Information
- Apply for Medicaid in Vermont through Vermont Health Connect
Or call 1-800-250-8427 to talk to someone in Vermont about Medicaid.
CHIP in Vermont
Or call 1-800-250-8427 to talk to someone in Vermont about Dr. Dynasaur.
Medicaid/CHIP Dental Care in Vermont
Medicaid and CHIP also cover dental care for children. Once your child has coverage use the tools below to find dental care in Vermont: