Schools present an ideal opportunity for reaching children and their families to provide education and services to improve oral health. Incorporating oral health education and service delivery into schools may be particularly helpful in schools serving a large percentage of low-income children and adolescents, who have more than twice as much untreated tooth decay than those from higher-income households.

This technical assistance brief discusses how states can pursue school-based strategies to improve the oral health of children, particularly those in low-income families. Drawing from the experiences of states across the country, the brief: (1) provides an overview of existing school-based oral health programs; (2) describes how to engage school decision makers and other key stakeholders in advancing school-based oral health programs; and (3) explores challenges and considerations for engaging schools, students, and their families in improving oral health.

This brief was developed by the Center for Health Care Strategies for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Oral Health Initiative Learning Collaborative.