Choptank Health Promotes Pediatric Dental Health

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month

Choptank Health is building awareness about the importance of pediatric dental health in recognition of February’s designation as National Children’s Dental Health Month and National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month.

National Children’s Dental Health Month is sponsored by the American Dental Association as a month-long health observance bringing together thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers, and many others.

“Oral health is extremely important for children as a preventative tool,” said Choptank Community Health’s Chief Dental Officer Sandra Garbely-Kerkovich, DMD. “Evidence continues to mount connecting oral health to adult health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and more.

“When we can prevent any oral health problems from occurring in the first place and early on in a child’s life, we can help that child grow into an overall healthier adult,” says Dr. Garbely.

Choptank Health’s dental healthcare team includes two pediatric dentists that are trained and specialize in treating young patients. Hadeel Alhassani, DDS, and Usman Ali, DMD see pediatric patients at Choptank Health’s dental centers in Cambridge, Denton, Federalsburg, Goldsboro, and St. Michaels, with new pediatric dental patients now being accepted.

Choptank Health’s Lorena Gracia (left) and Elizabeth Boyko, RDH stand with Choptank Health’s mobile unit, which is used for School-Based Health Center dental and medical care.

February is also recognized each year by the School-Based Health Alliance to help raise awareness about how school-based health centers revolutionize the way children and adolescents access healthcare services.

The Alliance says school-based health care is also a commonsense idea gaining currency across the country as it places critically needed services like medical, behavioral, dental, and vision care directly in schools so that all young people, no matter their zip code, have equal opportunity to learn and grow.

Dr. Garbely and Community Based Program Director Chrissy Bartz, PAC, MMS oversee the school-based dental program, with enrolled Pre-K through 12th-grade students enrolled in each school eligible to receive care at any location. Local Head Start and Judy Center students are also able to participate.

Registered dental hygienists at Choptank Health’s School-Based Health Centers and on-site mobile unit provide dental screenings, fluoride treatments, sealant applications, and dental hygiene education. The free dental screenings include examinations of the teeth and all soft tissues of the mouth—along with instruction on brushing and flossing, and education on the importance of eating healthy foods in good oral hygiene.

Dental services are provided to School-Based Health Center-enrolled students Dorchester County Public Schools, with dental and medical services available to students enrolled in the School-Based Health Centers of Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot County Public Schools.

Choptank Community Health System provides medical, dental, and School-Based health services to more than 30,000 adults and children in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties, with a mission to provide access to exceptional, comprehensive, and integrated healthcare for all. Medical services include primary healthcare, women’s health, pediatrics, behavioral health, chronic health management, care navigation, and more.

A list of School-Based Health Center participating schools and enrollment forms are available at

More on School-Based Health Awareness Month:

More on the ADA’s National Children’s Dental Health Month:

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