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By Kara Herlihy
Dental hygienist Marian Moore now occupies the school nurse's office on Fridays as part of the "Tooth Tutor" Program now available at Waitsfield Elementary School.
"Tooth Tutor" is a state-run program backed by the Vermont Department of Health as a "dental access program."
Moore spends most of the week working as a dental hygienist in South Burlington, while each Friday she takes the trek down to Waitsfield Elementary to teach students about the importance of brushing and flossing.
According to the Vermont Department of Health, "The Tooth Tutor also presents dental health education in the classroom using the Tooth Tutor curriculum. This gives students the opportunity to learn more about their teeth and their dental health."
Moore also helps school nurse Sue Dillon update dental records and information for each student's health file, which includes helping families find dentists for students who don't already have one.
According to the Vermont Department of Health, "The Tooth Tutor focuses on connecting children without dental homes to a dentist in their community. The Tooth Tutor acts as a liaison between the families and the community dentists."
"It's really good for families whose parents might not be able to get off work to take their children to the dentist," Moore said, adding "[the Tooth Tutor Program] is a great link to the dental community."
"The Tooth Tutor helps to troubleshoot barriers to dental care with families such as transportation, literacy, finances or lack of information. He or she also works with the dental offices, educating them about the barriers that these families face and helping to make it easier for appointments to be kept," reports the Vermont Department of Health.
"The goal of Vermont's Tooth Tutor program is to assure that every child has access to preventive, restorative and continuing care in a dental office. Schools choose to participate in the Tooth Tutor Program."
As of yet, Moore is not allowed to perform teeth cleanings because the Department of Health requires dentists to indirectly supervise.
Moore has already seen 10 students and currently approximately 120 Vermont schools participate in the Tooth Tutor Program, and the numbers keep growing.