School Health Connections


Oral Health Information for School Nurses & Teachers

An estimated 51 million school hours per year are lost because of dental problems. Oral health problems can also result in failure to thrive, impaired speech development, and reduced self-esteem. Students may have trouble concentrating and learning and be unlikely to score as well on tests as children who are not distracted by pain. more

School Nurses and teachers can promote oral health by educating students and parents about good health habits and about the services available in school-based oral health programs. Teachers can also help interested students pursue oral health careers.

What School Nurses Should Do

Review prevention and response strategies for oral injury. Print and post RIDOH’s Dental Trauma Decision Tree.

Oversee and organize the dental screening of students as required by state regulations.

Promote school-based dental sealant programs through SEAL RI!

What Teachers Should Do

The classroom provides a great opportunity to teach children about the importance of oral health and how to stay healthy. Many websites have activity sheets and enjoyable experiments to help children learn about the importance of good oral health. These include:

  • Healthy Smile Learning. The Delta Dental Institute and Arizona PBS have come together to build this resource site for educators, parents and engaged kids! Here you can find videos, resources, and classroom curriculum all about having a healthy smile.
  • Free Oral Health Education Resources (2020) The National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, through their website America’s Tooth Fairy, provides resources for teachers, including lesson plans, posters, and activity sheets.
  • Classroom Ideas & Resources is provided by the American Dental Association to help teachers plan dental health-related presentations, lessons, hands-on activities, and more.
  • Healthy & Ready to Learn; Manageable health conditions can keep kids from doing well in school and set them back for life. Children's Health Fund is committed to identifying and treating these Health Barriers to Learning so that every child has a chance to succeed in school and in life.
  • Children’s Dental Health Books. This resource from the University of Maryland Health Sciences Library lists books about oral health for children under age 7.