Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Subcategory: Social Sciences/Psychology/Economics
Le'Andrea P. Mitchell - Tougaloo College
Co-Author(s): Dionne Richardson and Seymone Powell, Mississippi State Department of Health, Jackson, MS
Mississippi Seals is a school based dental sealant program under the collaborative efforts of the Mississippi Department of Health and community partners to reduce oral health disparities in school- aged children by placing dental sealants on the 1st and 2nd molars (posterior teeth). Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings painted on the chewing surfaces of the permanent molar teeth to prevent tooth decay. By covering these surfaces on the molars, sealants keep out the bacteria and food that cause decay. At the Mississippi Seals event, plastic coatings (sealants) were applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent molars of 2nd and 5th grade students’ teeth. The permanent molars are most probable to developing cavities. This preventative dental program also provides services on site at schools such as dental screenings and fluoride varnish applications. Mississippi Seals provided education about the program’s purpose to five school officials, eight public dental providers, and nine private dental providers. Schools are contacted directly by phone and fax to give information about the school based sealant events. The working hypothesis is by covering the chewing surfaces on the molars, sealants keep out the bacteria and food that cause decay.
This program aims to increase the prevalence of sealants and decrease the number of caries among Mississippi’s children that attend eligible schools where 50% or more of the student population receive free or reduced lunch. Sealants will be placed in a school and recreational based settings on the 1st and 2nd permanent molars of school aged children. The data collected from the sealant events is entered in the Mississippi Seals tooth level data program using the Seals Event-Level Data Collection forms and the Seals Child-Level Data Collection forms. The Event-Level Collection forms are used to collect data about the event site such as what grade level was targeted, what population was targeted, or what kind of dental materials and equipment was used. Child-Level Data Collection forms are used to collect information about screening and preventive service (sealant). As a result, 2907 children were screened and of those 2907 children, 1,765 received sealants. The average number of teeth sealed per child was four. There were 1440 children with treated or untreated decay. Thirty-two percent of participants had decay that was untreated, 12.5% of participants had early dental needs, and 20.7% of participants had early dental needs. Of the 2907 students, 2664 received fluoride varnish treatment. In conclusion, Mississippi Seals has currently served over 2700 children to help prevent caries and tooth decay. More effort will be put into place to strengthen private provider and community health center participation.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Jackson Heart Study
Faculty Advisor: Dionne Richardson, N/A