During the month of February, we are excited to talk teeth. The Chaffee County Oral Health Program has been busy going to schools and providing dental services to students. We offer screenings, dental cleanings, sealants, fluoride varnish and Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) applications.

Sealants are a thin liquid resin dripped into the cracks of permanent molars to protect them from decay. Fluoride varnish is a sticky substance that is painted on teeth to re-mineralize weak spots that are white and will turn into a cavity. SDF is a liquid fluoride that is used to stop a small decay that is visually obvious and very small. All of the above are evidence based preventive measures.

We are also busy at schools offering dental education to all grades. We have puppet shows, games, and promote “Rethink Your Drink.” This is a campaign to encourage students to choose water as their drink of choice. Milk, juice, or sweetened beverages are for meal times only. Having dental services offered at schools reduces the issue of access. Many families are very appreciative of being able to have preventive dental services offered at the school. They do not have to request time off from work, which many do not get paid for. Also, as our region is experiencing a lot of growth, many families new to the area are having a hard time getting appointments. New patient appointments are being scheduled out more than 6 months per local residents. In the wake of COVID, many families are behind on preventative services. If any visual
decay is detected during the screening, we offer navigation to the family for care. We follow up with all urgent cases.

We are not forgetting about our pre-schools! We also offer Cavity Free at Three Clinics at pre-schools. This is where we sit down with a parent, complete a risk assessment screening and place a fluoride varnish. We try to set some oral health goals and navigate any child that needs follow up to care. We will still see your baby even with only one tooth! Children who receive 4 varnishes by age 3 have a 37% reduction in decay according to the CDPHE. This has been a hugely successful program in the area, as many medical professionals, home health visiting nurse programs, and schools are offering this service. Many children are seen before age three at a well-child visit’s by their medical professional.

In conclusion, our program offers dental services at the Boys and Girls Club, Public Health Department and the mobile Chaffee Community Clinic in Salida and Buena Vista. Please stop by and get your free screening and help with finding dental care!
Our work is regional as I am a Regional Oral Health Specialist. You will see us in Cotopaxi and down in the San Luis Valley as well. CLICK HERE  for a snapshot of the work we do.
Questions? Call Julie Nutter, RDH Director of the Chaffee County Oral Health
Program or email: jnutter@chaffeecounty.org