Oral Health Data Collection

Healthy Smiles in Louisiana

Understanding Oral Health Data in Louisiana

Collecting and analyzing data is vital to understanding, and ultimately improving, oral health in Louisiana. That’s why Well-Ahead Louisiana works closely with state partners to develop and interpret information that informs us about health disparities, trends in disease and service use, unmet needs and targeting resources more efficiently. We achieve this in partnership with the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors for the development of survey design, sample of selected schools, data analysis and interpretation of results.

Bright Smiles for Bright Futures: Basic Screening Survey

The Bright Smiles for Bright Futures Third Grade Survey is a nationwide open-mouth survey used by several states as a consistent model for data collection to improve overall oral health. In Louisiana, the survey is conducted every three to five years to produce statistical estimates on dental health indicators. The first Basic Screening Survey (BSS) was conducted in 1997-1998, and the most recent survey was conducted in 2016-2018. The next five-year Basic Screening Survey will begin during the 2021-2022 school year. 

The Basic Screening Survey is a screening assessment conducted by either or a dental hygienist or trained professional such as a school nurse to determine oral health status of third grade students. The survey data assists us in securing funding for future oral health programming for Louisiana students. Screening results are treated as private health information and all data is collected in aggregate form to ensure the privacy of both students and schools.