Oral Health


When the Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) mobile dental trailer rolls up to a school or summer camp, the end result is a beautiful smile for children. CHI recently received a grant of nearly $180,000 from the Children’s Trust to provide preventative dental care to an estimated 1,800 students ranging in ages from 3 to 13.

Many working parents often have to balance a difficult dilemma – risk-taking a day off from work and losing a day’s pay to take their children to the dentist for cleanings, sealants or oral exams. With this grant, CHI is able to alleviate that stress by going directly to schools and summer camps. Parents sign a consent form in advance and do not have to be present when the exams take place. It’s a win-win for parents and their children.

“It’s a much-needed service,” said Dr. Sheri Watson-Hamilton, Dental Director at CHI. “And that’s why we’re here.”

According to Dr. Watson-Hamilton, her team of dental hygienists has already cared for more than 400 children throughout the Southern end of Miami-Dade County and all the way up to Coconut Grove.

“We explain and show them the importance of brushing and flossing,” she said. “Dental cavities are still a frequent problem because of the sugary drinks and foods kids eat.”

If a child has a more serious issue, then a letter is sent to the parents urging them to make an appointment at a CHI health center.

“Kids’ reactions are mixed, at first, but the results after are always good. They’re happy and they usually feel more confident and comfortable after we sit down and show them how to better care for their teeth,” Dr. Watson-Hamilton said.

More than 10 schools across Miami-Dade will be receiving this service. It is something that the non-profit takes great pride in providing.

“I’m excited about this new opportunity that we have for this community,” said Brodes H. Hartley, Jr., President and CEO of CHI. “As you know, we always try to improve on the services that we provide to the community and take the services to the people. We are not just waiting for people to come to us.”