2016 Community Benefit Report CHAI_160088756_2016 Community Benefit Report_FIN - | Page 16

2016 COMMUNITY BENEFIT REPORT Two Generations School Partnership Educates Young Parents on Dental Health Pregnancy and babies don’t come with a textbook, and teen parents especially need extra help and support. Adolescent parents have unique needs for parenting information and advice, as they are still learning to attend to their own health and wellbeing. One area critical for young parent education includes dental health. Parents who have the tools for good oral health can take better care of themselves and their babies. “The germs that cause cavities are passed to the infant very early in life – before the baby’s teeth even come in,” says Valerie Haustein, a dental hygienist at Children’s Hospital Colorado. “If parents have experienced cavities themselves, the cavity causing germs can be passed from parent to baby and make their new teeth susceptible to decay.” Many people have come to see cavities as an inevitable rite of passage in their child’s life. But Valerie says tooth decay is nearly 100% preventable. In a coordinated effort to promote good oral health and preventive care for both the parent and the child, Children’s Colorado partnered with Aurora Public Schools’ (APS) Young Parent Support Program. “Aurora Public Schools has been supporting pregnant and parenting teens for more than 35 years,” says Danette Lippman, director of health services at APS. “The Young Parent Support Program (YPSP) is committed to helping pregnant and parenting students navigate the multiple challenges of being a teen mother or father and succeeding in school.” The program teaches teens to parent with a purpose – providing education on dental health and overall health for the baby and themselves. “ W E ’ R E I M PA C T I N G T WO G E N E R AT I O N S O F L I V E S ( PA R E N T A N D C H I L D ) T H R O U G H THIS PROGRAM AND HELPING TO MAKE CHILDREN AND FA M I L I E S H E A LT H I E R A N D S T R O N G E R .” 16 Teen parents are involved in the program across high schools in Aurora. Valerie visits these schools to host teen discussion groups around child dental health, answer questions about growth and development, teething, good nutrition and feeding practices, and help young parents prevent tooth decay for their infants and toddlers. She and others from the Dental Center at Children’s Colorado also offer dental screening and preventative services for the preschool age children. “Research shows that early oral health intervention and education goes a long way in preventing the development of cavities,” explains Danette. “If we can prevent cavities at an early age, we are positioning children for better success in school and in life.” Danette and Valerie agree, “We’re impacting two generations of lives (parent and child) through this program and helping to make children and families healthier and stronger.”