Milwaukee (12/7/2011) - Local officials and representatives from Milwaukee organizations gathered on December 6 to release the report on the success of a three-year Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program impact award focusing on oral health care coordination in Milwaukee school-based oral health programs and increasing medical providers' role in addressing dental disease.
The partners of Making Milwaukee Smile (MMS) worked to achieve three main objectives: reduce the proportion of children in Starms Schools with urgent oral health needs by 15 percent; increase participation in Columbia St. Mary's school-based oral health program by 30 percent; increase the role of 100 health care providers in addressing oral disease. As a result of MMS, urgent oral health needs in the Starms School had a net decrease of 50 percent. Additionally, children with early treatment needs decreased from 68 percent to 46 percent, a 32 percent decrease in the number of children with disease.
Since 2008, participation in the CSM Smart Smiles program has increased from 50 percent to 77 percent, a 53 percent increase as a result of efforts of the oral health care coordinator provided by MMS. Finally, MMS partners trained 151 primary care providers on performing oral health risk assessments, providing anticipatory guidance and applying fluoride varnish. Many of the providers trained have now incorporated new oral health practices into their day-to-day care plans.
Tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease of childhood, occurring five times more frequently than asthma and seven times more often than hay fever. Statistics from the Wisconsin 2008 Make Your Smile Count third grade oral health survey showed children in Milwaukee to have an untreated decay rate of 37.5 percent, far higher than the state average of 20 percent.In Milwaukee school-based oral health programs, over half of children screened were diagnosed with untreated dental disease.
In attendance, to announce the findings on Dec. 6, were Sen. Spencer Coggs, Sen. Chris Larson and Ald. Willie Hines. During the opening remarks, Hines praised the work of the partnership: "The results of this project are very, very encouraging. I'm optimistic and hopeful that we'll be able to take this to other schools and other cities, so other inner city kids can be able to appreciate the importance of dental hygiene and good oral health."