The Mouth Body Connection

More students were treated through the Healthy, Happy Smiles school-based oral health program than last school year.

Grant County students received another year of Healthy, Happy Smiles and had higher participation over the previous year.

The school-based oral health program provides free dental screenings, fluoride, sealants and follow-up care for students, administered by Eastern Oregon Healthy Living Alliance in partnership with Advantage Dental in Grant, Harney, Baker and Malheur counties.

The increase in student participation can be attributed to the higher return of consent forms, according to an EOHLA report on the 2018-2019 school year. In 2018, the consent form returns for Grant County was 48%, while 2019 saw a return rate of 67%.

“The higher student participation rate can be attributed to schools growing more familiar with the program and a strong relationship with the Advantage Dental from DentaQuest’s Expanded Practice Dental Hygienist,” according to the report.

While Grant County saw an increase in consent forms returned, the other three counties saw a decrease.

Out of the 966 students screened in Grant County, 292 of them received sealants, 404 received silver diamine fluoride and 164 had fluoride applied.

Children who received silver diamine fluoride are treated with fluoride with silver that is powerful enough to stop cavities that are hard to see.

“It is painted on the teeth and can heal early tooth decay. Fillings may not be needed for the cavities that are treated with silver diamine fluoride,” according to the report.

Funding for this project is provided in part by the Oregon Community Foundation. Eastern Oregon Healthy Living Alliance received a $60,000 grant by the Oregon Children’s Dental Health Initiative to make the program available for the 2019-2020 school year.


Rudy Diaz is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at or 541-575-0710.

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