Wisdom where it counts

The importance of students’ dental health

North Platte Public School District and West Central Health District are partnering together to provide dental services for students at North Platte High School in January. “I feel very positive and optimistic about the collaboration between NPPSD and West Central District Health Department. It’s great to see community resources come together to ensure students health care needs are met in an academic setting,” said NPHS school nurse Jewel Hampton.

Students can receive full cleanings, dental x-rays, fluoride application, and sealants. “Providing dental and oral care education to parents and students in the academic and healthcare setting should be a priority for our community members and there are many facets of the community that will benefit for this service as well,” said Hampton.

Dental health is commonly neglected among students. “Dental disease is the most prevalent childhood disease in our country and routine dental care for children is minimal even in families who carry dental insurance,” said Hampton. She said tooth and gum pain is a common excuse for absences. “Untreated dental disease can negatively impact student success and learning in the classroom and can increase school absences,” said Hampton.

Currently North Platte only has one dental office that takes Medicaid, so most people have to go to Gothenburg for Medicaid covered dental services. Hampton said, “All students, regardless of health insurance, will be offered dental services [here].” The cost will be based on income level on a sliding-scale fee.

NPPSD and WCDHD partnering together allows students health care needs to be met close to home. “[The collaboration] demonstrates that as a community, we care about our students’ health, wellness, and academic success,” said Hampton.