Project Saving Smiles reduces the prevalence of tooth decay in underserved children and remove barriers to learning.
This is accomplished by providing dental screenings, dental sealants, fluoride varnish, and oral health education free of charge targeting Houston’s at-risk 2nd graders who are enrolled in schools with 70% or more students on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.
The 2001 Dental Needs Assessment in Harris County revealed 45.9% of 2nd graders had untreated decay. It is known that children who suffer from oral health problems cannot learn well and miss days from school. According to the 2000 Surgeon General’s Report, more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness. Additionally, children who experience pain from tooth problems are likely to be distracted and unable to concentrate on their school work.
Since its inception, Project Saving Smiles has provided 50,000 dental screenings, 77,706 dental sealants, 24,779 fluoride varnishes, and oral health education free of charge to second graders enrolled in a free or reduced lunch program across Houston.
The PSS partners with the Texas Department of State Health Services, Good Neighbor Healthcare Center, Women of Rotary, Latter Day Saints Missionaries, Harris County Public Health, Texas Oral Health Coalition - Houston Region, higher academic institutions, school districts, private industries, and non-profit organizations. Partners share in the planning process, resources distribution, and implementation of PSS.