ForsythKids builds healthy communities by improving children’s dental health where they live and learn. The ForsythKids program works with schools and community partners to make certain it is easy for children and their families to get high quality dental care, which is critically important to their overall health and well-being.
School-Based Oral Health
The program brings preventive dental care to Massachusetts children of all ages at schools, day care centers, neighborhood facilities, summer camps and public events. For more than a decade, ForsythKids has helped tens of thousands of children throughout Massachusetts receive preventive dental care.
All children in a participating school or location are eligible to enroll in ForsythKids. Participating students receive on-site dental examinations, oral health education, preventative services, including dental cleanings, application of fluoride varnish and sealants to prevent decay, and temporary fillings if needed. If a child is covered by MassHealth or private dental insurance, Forsyth will bill insurance for services but there is no co-pay, fee, or charge to families or schools. All children, including the uninsured, are eligible to participate. For those with ongoing or urgent dental needs, ForsythKids staff will work to connect children and their families to local dental clinics for comprehensive care.
Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease in the U.S.— more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness. Untreated dental disease can lead to pain, lack of attention in the classroom, problems with eating and speaking, low-self esteem, and long-term health consequences. To address the crisis of dental disease, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry now recommends children be seen by a dentist at age one, or when the first tooth comes in – whichever comes first. ForsythKids provides preventive care infants, toddlers and pre-school age children to reach them early and keep them healthy.
ForsythTeens is a unique program specifically designed to meet the needs of adolescents. Based on the American Lung Association N-O-T (Not-On-Tobacco) program, ForsythTeens includes guidance on tobacco cessation as well as information on oral health, nutrition, the oral effects of smoking, other tobacco products and illicit drugs. Oral health screenings and fluoride treatments are also available to all participants.
Beyond the Classroom
In addition to clinical care, the ForsythKids educational mission reaches children beyond the school setting. ForsythKids partners with a broad range of community organizations (i.e.Salvation Army, Lynn Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Council, greater Boston YMCAs, Boston Children's Museum) to ensure oral health is understood as essential to overall health, and to allow children to explore their oral health and related science in non-dental settings.