Resolution: Declaring February as Children’s Oral Health Month


Whereas, The Los Angeles Unified School District is committed to providing a safe school environment that promotes the health and well-being of children and, as the second largest school district in the nation, is also in a key position to play a leadership role in advancing coordinated preventative health care; ‘

Whereas, Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, despite the fact that it is almost entirely preventable; Whereas, Dental disease disproportionately affects disadvantaged and minority children and leads to impaired academic performance;

Whereas, Current research supports the value of cost-effective preventative care in lowering rates of dental decay in children, and better health is linked to improved academic performance;

Whereas, A study from the Children’s Dental Health Project in 2009 found that District students with active, untreated dental disease are absent an extra two days of school each year compared to students without dental disease;

Whereas, Between 2013 and 2016, the L.A. Trust Oral Health Initiative worked with District nurses and over 40 providers to screen 25 schools and found that rates of active, untreated dental disease were 65 percent among early education students, 64 percent of elementary school students,and 80 percent of middle and high school students;

Whereas, Assembly Bill 1433 (the “Kindergarten Mandate”) was enacted in 2006 to reduce the number of schoolchildren with dental disease, recognizing that tooth decay is preventable and that California’s schoolchildren experience oral disease at a much higher rate than school children in other states. The Kindergarten Mandate requires kindergarten and first grade students to present proof of having received an oral health assessment in the previous 12 months, directs public schools to notify students’ parents or legal guardians of the assessment requirement, and directs all school districts to report certain data collected under the Kindergarten Mandate to the office of education of the county in which the school district is located (see California Education Code Section 49452.8);

Whereas, Recent studies have found that many families of children affected by dental disease are unaware of the risks of dental disease;

Whereas, The most effective way to reduce dental disease in children is through education, early screening, and preventative treatments such as fluoride, varnish, and sealants, because once dental disease has progressed, the only treatment option is expensive restorative care;

Whereas, School nurses do not currently perform visual dental checks on students, even though visual inspection is often sufficient to identify early dental caries;

Whereas, Taking action to reduce the rate of dental decay in students can foster an improved environment for children’s learning;

Whereas, February is nationally recognized as Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health;

Whereas, Children’s Dental Health Month is a vehicle to promote healthcare education and utilization in our schools and offers an excellent opportunity to encourage dental exams for students; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Governing Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District recognizes the importance of preventative healthcare, particularly preventative dental treatments, as an essential step to ensure equal educational opportunities for all children;

Resolved further, That the Board recognizes the unique position of its schools as the second largest school district in the nation to promote healthcare use and education to its student population, which includes a high proportion of at-risk or otherwise disadvantaged students. The Board further recognizes that good health is a necessary corollary to the ability to receive a proper education and graduate employment-ready;

Resolved further, That the Superintendent work closely with school-site administrators, external organizations, and city agencies to re-affirm its commitment to promote oral hygiene awareness and education throughout the District;

Resolved further, That within 30 days the Superintendent will remind all Local District Superintendents and school principals of the Kindergarten Mandate requirements;

Resolved further, That the Superintendent or their designee will develop, within 60 days, a recommended annual timeline and strategy for school administrators to inform parents of the Kindergarten Mandate, collect data, and report data in alignment with student data use agreements. The Superintendent will also direct staff to collect and retain this data from schools, summarize and report the results to the Board, and make this information available for interested stakeholders;

Resolved further, That the Superintendent will deliver a report within 90 days that summarizes the existing Kindergarten Mandate data throughout the District from the year 2017 forward and identifies potential opportunities for mitigating gaps in data reporting. This summary will include suggestions for improvement;

Resolved further, That the Board will re-affirm its commitment to collaborate with the L.A. Trust, community partners, providers, and advocates to promote the L.A. Trust Oral Health Initiative, including the annual L.A. Trust Tooth Fairy Convention;

Resolved further, That the Board recognizes February as Children’s Dental Health Month; and, be it finally

Resolved, That the Superintendent will work with all schools of the District to recognize and celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month through educational activities and outreach.