BRUSH FOR THE FUTURE
Operation Healthy Family’s Oral Health Initiative goal is to improve oral health outcomes through prevention education and by creating life-long healthy oral hygiene habits. Brush for the Future started out as a school-based program targeting 2nd and 3rd-grade classrooms, working in concert with teachers, administrators, and school nurses.
According to the 2010 Community Health Assessment published by Spokane Regional Health District, “40% of children have experienced dental decay by kindergarten; 57% by third grade.”
The program begins with oral health education, which is augmented with ongoing in-class tooth-brushing. The second element of the program teaches and empowers students to implement the program in their classrooms, thereby providing opportunities for leadership development among participating children. Although this program started as a school-based program it quickly grew to extend into other grades K-6 and to many community-based social service programs such as World Relief and St. Margaret’s Shelter (Catholic Charities housing programs). The program continues to be a resource for the community in terms of reducing the fears prior to dental treatment. It creates awareness and knowledge about oral health and disease, as well as providing access to oral hygiene supplies and a daily opportunity to create a healthy habit.
Brush For the Future’s purpose is to improve oral health outcomes among elementary school children in Spokane’s poorest neighborhoods through prevention and early intervention. Working in concert with teachers, administrators, and school nurses, we train students to teach their peers healthy brushing habits. Students in grades K-6 in participating classes brush their teeth in their classrooms every day during the school year.”