VHSA initiatives help promote health, nutrition, oral health, and mental health for young children and their families by partnerships with national, state and local partners. We are proud of a parent brochure, “Give Their Smiles a Head Start“, which highlights the importance of dental care and what parents can do for good oral health care.
Our data shows that preschool age Head Start children have a dental home. But it is harder to find one for the infants and toddlers in Early Head Start. Children should have their first dental exam by one.
The Northeast Delta Dental Foundation partners with the VHSA to help place a Tooth Tutor (a dental hygienist) in every program. The Tooth Tutor works with the family and local dental practices to make sure young child get their annual dental exam and treatments if needed. The Tooth Tutor also goes into the classroom to teach children to promote health by showing how to brush, floss and eat nutritious foods for healthy teeth. Head Start and these partners are working together to prevent the unfortunately impact of poor oral health, which include tooth decay, other health problems, trips to the emergency room and absenteeism for both the child and the parents.
Please watch this video for more on the Head Start Tooth Tutor Program:
Tobacco Prevention and Help to Quit Smoking
Vermont’s Head Start and Early Head Start Programs in Vermont have partnered for years with the Vermont Department of Health and the Legacy Foundation that became the Truth Initiative. We educate and help with referrals to quit resources when a parent that smokes is ready to try to quit. A new concern is the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).
The data we collect shows good news in efforts to reduce exposure to second and third hand smoke. A majority of families almost 87%, reported they did not allow smoking in the home. We found out that 34.18% of the parents surveyed in the fall of 2016 reported they smoke cigarettes every day. Almost 26% had tried using an electronic cigarette.
For more information about this VHSA initiative go to Legacy’s report, Head Start Tobacco Cessation: Partnering for Healthier Children and Families and watch this video.