With the start of a new school year, it is the duty of parents to ensure that their children are ready and healthy for their return to school. When checking health requirements like immunizations and physicals, it is important for parents to remember that oral health is also an essential part of caring for their children.
Lack of oral health care can cause children to develop health conditions that will impact their academic achievement. Lack of preventive care can have negative consequences that affect children's ability to learn, such as school absences, loss of sleep, difficulty paying attention, and headaches, among others. For this reason, parents should ensure that their children visit their dentist every six months for preventive care. At this appointment, your dentist does an oral evaluation to see if the child has developed an oral health condition so that it can be treated in time.
At Vimenti by Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico we make sure that our students take good care of their oral health. Upon entering Vimenti, families are interviewed to determine, among various things, what their needs are. Our 2018 and 2019 results show that 43% of our students had visited the dentist once or not at all in the past year. This shows a large percentage of students who did not receive preventive health services that would help reduce their risk of oral conditions.
Every year, our students must bring a certificate of oral examination in which it is specified if they require special treatment, emergency, or the regular visit every six months. With this information, our staff can follow up on students' oral health care. For the past two years, we have achieved 100% delivery of oral exam certificates. This is an effort achieved through health education strategies, health communication, intersectorality and the commitment of families to the health of their children.
Law 63, called “Law to guarantee access to oral health services for all patients in Puerto Rico”, was approved in 2017 to guarantee that all minors of school age have access to oral health services and require a certificate oral exam to be admitted to a public or private school in Puerto Rico. This is a great step to guarantee the right to oral health of our children and youth in Puerto Rico.
Parents or legal guardians are the persons responsible for the health care of their children. For this reason, they must maintain effective communication with pediatricians and dentists so that children have a healthy lifestyle.