Oral Health Promotion
Chronic Disease Leads to Oral Disease
Good oral health is essential to the health of all Louisiana residents. Oral disease is almost completely preventable, but it still affects children and adults throughout Louisiana every day.
Our oral health affects our ability to speak, smile, eat and show emotions. It also affects self-esteem, academic performance and attendance at work and school. Poor oral health is associated with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease and risk behaviors like tobacco use and sugary diets. In Louisiana, 86% of our parishes are Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas, meaning the majority of our state does not have access to the dental care they need.
of third grade children in Louisiana had damage to a tooth’s surface or enamel¹
of Louisiana residents receive fluoridated drinking water²
Louisiana adults lost at least one of their permanent teeth due to tooth decay or gum disease³
of Louisiana adults 65 years and older had all their natural, permanent teeth removed due to tooth decay or gum disease³
Improve the Oral Health of Louisiana Residents
Well-Ahead Louisiana is making strides when it comes to improving oral health outcomes in our state. Our oral health promotion program is built around three main pillars.
Promoting Awareness of the Importance of Oral Health and its Association to Overall Health
Understanding the relationships between oral health and other chronic diseases is critical to early intervention and disease prevention. Research shows there is a strong association between chronic diseases and poor oral health. Residents living with diabetes are more susceptible to developing oral infections and gum disease. In addition, residents who use tobacco are at higher risk for gum disease and tooth-loss, due to plaque and tarter build-up.
Partnering with Organizations to Improve Overall Oral Health for All of Louisiana’s Residents
Well-Ahead partners with various community and professional organizations to promote the importance of oral health as a contributing factor to general health and well-being.
Encouraging Evidence-based Best Practices that Improve Oral Health
Our top priority is promoting evidence-based best practices like school-based dental sealant programs, the basic screening survey and community water fluoridation to improve oral health throughout Louisiana.
In coordination with our statewide WellSpot Designation program, we work with organizations to implement evidence-based strategies and promote healthy choices in the spaces and places where we live, work, learn and play to reduce the burden of oral disease throughout our state.
Community Water Fluoridation
Well-Ahead works with organizations and communities throughout the state to increase access to optimally fluoridated water to improve oral health for the whole community.
Dental ECHO consists of monthly, one hour sessions with a hub team made up of oral health providers such as dentists, dental hygienists, educators and other subject matter experts.
Fluoride varnish is the most effective protection against tooth decay for children, and we work to equip providers and schools with the resources to keep smiles healthy.
Louisiana Oral Health Coalition
Well-Ahead convenes the statewide Oral Health Coalition, a voluntary collaborative of more than 60 stakeholders that utilizes evidence-based, best practices to ensure the best use of available oral health resources to improve the oral health of all Louisiana.
Love Your Smile
Oral health has an impact on your overall health. It’s important to learn how to care for your mouth so you can love your smile for years to come!
School Dental Sealant Programs
Dental sealants can prevent tooth decay, but are underused, particularly among children from families with low incomes and who lack access to care. Louisiana Seals Smiles, our replicable school dental sealant program, offers an effective approach for reaching these children.
Third-Grade Basic Screening Survey
The Basic Screening Survey is held every 3-5 years to gather important data on the oral health status of our students to better plan for effective, evidence-based oral health programming in our state.
1 Bright Smiles for Bright Futures Report, 2017-18.
2 Water Fluoridation Reporting System (WFRS), 2018.
3 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2018.
Improving oral health positively influences the health our communities, one smile at a time.
Celeste Terry and EXCELth Team Want Bright Smiles for All Louisiana’s Children
Dental Hygienist Celeste Terry knows the link between oral health and overall health, which is why she’s committed to being part of Well-Ahead’s Louisiana Seals Smiles program. Louisiana Seals Smiles provides funding and resources for collaboration between oral health providers and schools in an effort to improve the oral health of children ages 6-14. Through …
2020 Water Fluoridation Quality Award Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Well-Ahead Louisiana is pleased to announce that the following water systems have been awarded the 2020 Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As you are aware, this award recognizes communities that achieved excellence in community water fluoridation by maintaining a consistent level of fluoridated water throughout the …
Calcasieu Parish Waterworks District 1 Makes Fluoridating Water a Successful Habit
For Calcasieu Parish Waterworks District 1 Superintendent Gerald Hoffpauir and his operators, keeping their community’s drinking water at an optimal fluoridated level is simply a matter of routine. Yet through this routine, District 1 has earned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Water Fluoridation Quality Award for seven years running. The CDC presents their …