School-Based Oral Health


Over 30,000 Virginia children received dental care in school-based programs during the 2018-2019 school year.

Did you know that dental caries, or cavities, are the most common chronic disease of childhood in the US? 

Untreated cavities can lead to pain, infection, missed school time, and even trouble eating, talking, or socializing. Schools aren’t just a place for children to learn, they are a place that can address the health needs of Virginia students. Bringing dental care into schools allows children to receive much needed oral health care and education, and removes several access barriers, such as:

  • Transportation: children can stay at school for care, meeting patients where they are
  • Caregiver time: caregivers do not have to be present or take time off work to get their children to a dental clinic

School-Based Oral Health Program Learning Collaborative

In partnership with the Virginia Dept. of Health, the Dept. of Education, and the Delta Dental of Virginia Foundation, eight dental safety net clinics participate in a year-long learning collaborative to strengthen existing or build new school-based oral health programs (SBOHP). Catalyst partnered dental clinic staff members with school nurses at local schools to foster cross-sector relationships, share SBOHP best practices, and support new programs.

Successful SBOHPs depend on a foundation of trust among dental providers, school staff, and caregivers to deliver effective preventive dental care to students.

Catalyst is recruiting two new dental safety net clinics to join the SBOHP learning collaborative. Click the link below to learn more and apply!


Doctor pediatrician examining cute smiling african girl, throat sick

School-Based Health Workgroup

The School-Based Health (SBH) workgroup consists of stakeholders across Virginia invested in improving the health of children through oral health programs in the school setting. The SBH workgroup identifies best practices for school-based health care, including dental sealants, and develops strategies to share resources and tools across Virginia.

The SBH workgroup meets quarterly to discuss relevant projects and opportunities. Time commitment is minimal outside of meetings.

Interested in getting involved?

Fill out the form at the link below to learn about joining the SBH workgroup.


Meeting recording | Meeting summary

School-Based Oral Health Resources