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School Fluoride Program

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Healthy People 2020 recommend fluoridated water as the most effective way to deliver fluoride to a community. After communities fluoridate their water supplies, the percentage of children in the population with at least one cavity decreases by about 15%, on average, compared to before water fluoridation. In areas that have not yet fluoridated, school fluoride programs can reduce the rate of cavities by about 20%-30% for the children who participate.

Eligibility

  • A school is eligible if at least 30% of the students are eligible for the federal Free-and-Reduced Lunch (FRL) Program.
  • Students are eligible if they have parental permission.

There are two ways to receive fluoride – Tablets or Rinse

School Fluoride Tablet Program (grades K-6)

The School Fluoride Tablet Program is recommended for children who live in areas without optimum levels of fluoride in the water supply and who are not taking fluoride tablets at home. To check the fluoride content of your water supply, go to My Water’s Fluoride. The tablets are taken daily, chewed for a half minute, swished for a half minute, and then swallowed. There is benefit from the both the topical effect of fluoride as well as they systemic effect, so it is important to chew the tablet for one full minute before swallowing.

School Fluoride Rinse Program (grades 1-6) (no kindergartners)

The School Fluoride Rinse Program is recommended for children who have other sources of fluoride, but who may still be at risk for cavities because of other factors (examples: poor nutrition, lack of access to dental care, low socio-economic status). The rinse is used once a week, swished for 1 minute, and emptied out into a cup.

2012-13 Oregon Data

  • 298,600 Oregon children were in kindergarten to 6th grade.
  • 668 schools were eligible for the School Fluoride Program.
  • 66 schools participated (10% of the eligible schools).
  • 11,555 children were served (4% of Oregon's K-6 graders).

To Participate

Schools that have an enthusiastic advocate for children's oral health state that the program is easy to implement. Many schools report that the teachers do not have the time to administer the program or find it difficult to be consistent, so please survey your staff to ensure they are willing to follow through with the program.

To learn more about the program and to determine whether tablets or rinse are the best for your school, please review this slide show. To review current research regarding the efficacy of the program, please read this presentation.

To order fluoride tablets or rinse, or if you have further questions, please contact the Oral Health Unit at oral.health@state.or.us or call 971-673-0339. Orders are placed in April for the upcoming school year.

Forms for Participating Schools

Parent permission forms are mailed to participating schools in late August. If additional forms are needed: