Healthy Smiles

Oral health poster project sends louisiana school to indianapolis 

In March, Well-Ahead Louisiana, in collaboration with the Student Alliance Council (SAC) and the Oral Health Coalition, hosted an Oral Health Poster Project to increase oral health awareness in East Baton Rouge public schools. Broadmoor High, Scotlandville High, and Woodlawn High School all participated in this contest aiming to increase peer knowledge in regard oral health.  

The stakes for creating powerful oral health posters were higher than ever! The SAC School that created the most effective oral health awareness poster was awarded with 2 all-expense paid trips to the 2018 School-Based Health Alliance Convention in Indianapolis, IN.  

The Louisiana Oral Health Coalition, made up of the state’s oral health champions and stakeholders, had the honor of voting for and naming the winning school.  
Congratulations to Woodlawn High School’s “Be Smoke Free” poster, which demonstrated the positive oral health effects of being smoke free and the negative oral health effects of smoking!  

Representatives from the Woodlawn High School’s SAC will attend the School-Based Health Alliance Conference in Indianapolis, IN to present a formal poster presentation.  Again, congratulations to the students from Woodlawn High School for demonstrating what it means to push Louisiana forward in oral health!


Did you know?

  • According the 2016 Surgeon General’s Report, 90% of smokers start using tobacco regularly by the time they are 18 years of age. Three million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2015. 
  • In Louisiana, 13.2% of middle school students and 27.6% of high school students use tobacco. (2015 YRBS)  


 Collaborate with us to move Louisiana’s health forward! Email to learn more.  Together, we can ensure that our youth has the opportunity to make informed, healthy choices. 


Well-Ahead Louisiana Supports Give Kids a Smile

February is a month full of celebration –  Mardi Gras, the Superbowl, Valentine’s Day, and more!  February is also Children’s Dental Health Month, uniting thousands of oral health champions to spotlight the benefits of a healthy smile. 

Give Kids a Smile is a February American Dental Association campaign that encourages dental professionals, healthcare providers and educators throughout the country to provide oral health services and education to underserved children at no charge.   

Well-Ahead Louisiana has partnered with Eat, Move, Grow to Give Kids a Smile by providing dental sealant clinics in low socioeconomic schools in 24 parishes in Louisiana.  Providing sealants and applying fluoride varnish are the two top preventive measures used to protect teeth against cavities!  

 In addition, Well-Ahead Louisiana is working with the East Baton Rouge Student Alliance Council to host an oral health poster project during February.  Students at nine schools are designing posters that will be posted throughout campuses to educate students on the importance of oral care.


  • According to Louisiana's 2009 oral health screening survey, 65.7% of third grade students had tooth decay and 41.9% had untreated cavities.

  • Three parishes in Louisiana have 0 dentists: Red River, Cameron and Tensas!


Activities that promote Children’s Dental Health Month help to move Louisiana’s health forward.  Are you interested in volunteering for a Give Kids a Smile activity?  Email or click here to learn how you can partner with us!  Together, we can increase access to preventative dental care among our youth. 

Medical Providers Can Keep Smiles Healthy Too!

Pediatricians are the first line of defense against illness and disease in children.  When medical providers become Smiles for Life certified to apply fluoride varnish, they can keep their patients’ smiles healthy too!  Fluoride varnish is a gel substance that is applied directly to the teeth.  It takes less than two minutes to apply and dries almost instantly.  From a very early age, fluoride varnish provides the most effective protection against tooth decay for children. 

Applying fluoride varnish during routine well visits is becoming a standard of care in pediatrics nationwide.  Recently, our team’s Provider Education Network hosted a webinar that provided valuable information on fluoride varnish application. This webinar was led by a panel of medical and dental providers of the Louisiana Oral Health Coalition.  Panelists provided guidance on becoming Smiles for Life certified and Medicaid reimbursement.  To further promote fluoride varnish application, our team partnered with Medicaid.   Promotional materials were distributed to medical professionals via Medicaid e-blasts and direct outreach.

In addition, Well-Ahead partnered with WIC (Women, Infants and Children) to promote fluoride varnish application to mothers.  Our team created and distributed a direct mailer to mothers enrolled in WIC services in Winn Parish.  This mailer highlighted the ease, importance and safety of fluoride varnish application.   Our team team also created a short video that reinforces the mailer's message.  This video currently being shown in WIC waiting rooms across the state. 

A healthy child is a happy child.  When medical providers incorporate preventive dental services at routine well visits, their smiles can be healthy, too!   


Tooth decay is the most common preventable childhood disease. In children ages 6 to 11 years old, it is ­­­five times more common than asthma and four times ­­­more common than obesity.          


A lifetime Smiles for Life certification is available online and takes only about an hour to complete. The certification is free and continuing education units are given at the end. Become Smiles for Life certified today by following the simple steps below!

  • Visit the Smiles for Life website and review the training module: Course No. 6: Caries Risk assessment, Fluoride Varnish& Counseling.
  • Complete and pass the exam. Receive continuing education credits.
  • Maintain a copy of the successfully completed post assessment certificate employee records.


Creating Healthy Smiles One Screening At A Time

The Well-Ahead Healthy Smiles team is preparing to continue our Bright Smiles for Bright Futures Oral Health Screening Project this Fall.  This project provides a basic, non-invasive oral health screening to third grade students at eligible schools.  This means that a licensed dental hygienist screens students for dental sealants, tooth decay, and cavities, and then makes appropriate dental recommendations.  This project has provided oral health screenings for 902 students since it started last Fall.       


Dental health is often a child's top unmet health need.  This type of open-mouth survey is used nationwide for consistency in obtaining oral health data.  Bright Smiles for Bright Futures helps our team collect data in hopes of secur­ing funding for future oral health programming for Louisiana students.  In 2009, this project uncovered that a startling 42% of Louisiana third graders had untreated tooth decay, 66% had an untreated cavity, and 43% needed to be referred to a dentist for further treatment.  Click here to learn more.    


Bright Smiles for Bright Futures has received great feedback in regards to its screening process, oral health education and dental resources. Additionally, this project has provided an opportunity to educate schools on the the importance of evidence-based oral health prevention strategies like school-based dental sealant clinics and fluoride varnish applications.  Several principals have become especially interested in dental sealant clinics!  


In the upcoming school year, we hope to conduct an additional 1,100 oral health screenings statewide.  After the data is analyzed, an inclusive report will be released.  


    • Louisiana currently scores a “D” in overall youth oral health interventions   
    • Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of children aged 6 to 11 years old.   


The Well-Ahead Healthy Smiles team promotes oral health through education and expanded access to preventative dental services.  Are you a school staff member that is passionate about oral health? Give your students the opportunity for a healthy smile – email to learn more. 

Well-Ahead Louisiana Promotes Healthy Smiles in Louisiana Schools

Healthy Smiles

Well-AHead LouisIana PromotEs healthy smiles in louisiana schools

In partnership with the Student Alliance Council, Well-Ahead Louisiana collaborated with East Baton Rouge high schools to promote the importance of oral health to students.  The SAC is comprised of two student representatives from eight East Baton Rouge public high schools.  SAC members are responsible for educating their peers about chosen health topics during the school year.

In February, SAC members participated in an oral health promotion poster project!  This project tasked SAC members to use their influential voices to create and display oral health messaging throughout their schools for an entire week.  Check out the posters at Broadmoor High School, Woodlawn High School, and Scotlandville High School below! 

Scotlandville High School: 

Broadmoor High School:

Woodlawn High School: