Association‌ of‌ State‌ &‌ Territorial‌ Dental‌ Directors
3858‌ Cashill Blvd.,‌ Reno,‌ NV‌ ‌89509
Phone‌ 775-626-5008‌‌

National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety

Dental Hygienist Liaison Project

Because of the importance of oral health during pregnancy and early childhood, in 2011 the National Center on Health, working in partnership with the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA), created the Dental Hygienist Liaison (DHL) project. Under the DHL project, one dental hygienist from each state volunteers to help promote oral health for pregnant women and children enrolled in Head Start. The DHL project continues as part of the Office of Head Start currently funded through the National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety (NCHBHS). The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center is the project lead for NCHBHS oral health activities and works in partnership with ASTDD, which coordinates the Dental Hygienist Liaison Project.

Role of the Dental Hygienist Liaison

DHLs promote oral health in Head Start by:

  • Providing a communication link between NCHBHS and Head Start agencies in their states
  • Collaborating with state organizations such as oral health programs, Head Start collaboration offices, and Head Start Associations
  • Providing oral health presentations at state conferences and meetings
  • Offering strategies to improve access to oral health care for pregnant women and children enrolled in Head Start
  • Working with oral health professionals to establish partnerships with local Head Start programs
  • Sharing information about the importance of oral health and regular oral health visits, good nutrition and oral hygiene practices, and oral-injury-prevention strategies with Head Start program staff
  • Serving on Head Start committees (e.g., Head Start health manager networks, Head Start health services advisory committees) and oral health advisory boards and coalitions to promote the oral health of Head Start participants

ASTDD descriptive report for the DHL Project

DHL 2022 Annual Report

Something to Smile About! Head Start and Dental Hygienist Liaison Project 2021 NOHC Roundtable Slides

DHL Resources

Information about DHL Project

Information about Head Start

Oral Health Social Media Campaign

2021 Social Media Campaign for Head Start Parents and Caregivers: Features messages and graphics for use on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All of this content is accessible here Visitors are encouraged to start by downloading the Social Media Toolkit, which contains all of the sample messages and instructions for using the videos/graphics that are stored on this web portal.

Key Contacts

Approved Educational Materials

Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC)

ECLKC is a central repository for materials for Head Start staff and others who work to support health and wellness for pregnant women and children enrolled in Head Start programs. The materials listed on the oral health page of the ECLKC website are approved for sharing with Head Start staff and families. DHLs are encouraged to save this site as a favorite and refer to it often when responding to questions from Head Start staff and families. These materials cover a wide variety of oral health topics such as dental visits, fluoride, nutrition, oral health care, oral hygiene, and safety and emergency first aid. There are also numerous materials developed to help support Head Start staff in their efforts to improve the oral health of Head Start families and meet the requirements of the Head Start Program Performance Standards related to oral health.

NCHBHS Presentations

These presentations, which have been approved by the Office of Head Start for NCHBHS oral health staff to use, cover topics such as engaging families, partnering with parents, dental public health, and promoting oral health during pregnancy. You may use the presentations as a whole or delete slides and/or combine slides from multiple presentations. You may not add any new content to the slides without approval. To download files, select the desired folders and click the download arrow in the upper right corner of the screen.

2023 DHL Meetings and Webinars

Practical Applications of Teledentistry: Expanding Access to Care- As a component of the broader telehealth system, teledentistry serves an important role in reducing barriers that communities and populations face when seeking oral healthcare. Increasing interest in using teledentistry as a tool to connect patients to their oral health provider when they are not in the same location has growing support from a variety of organizations, including organized dentistry and payors. This webinar will serve as a framework for DHLs to understand the goals of teledentistry, equip DHLs with the knowledge of how to explore the rules and regulations of teledentistry in their respective states, and provide insights on teledentistry-related resources. (October 2023)

Making Head Start Program Information Report Data on Oral Health Work for You! - Understanding and analyzing data trends can provide dental hygienist liaisons (DHLs) with important information that can be used to help improve the oral health of Head Start participants. During this session, Dr Harry Goodman will review with participants how to access and use the Office of Head Start Program Performance Report (PIR) oral health data; examine concerning trends and issues that affect the oral health of Head Start participants; and explore strategies state DHLs, regional DHL coordinators, and local Head Start programs can take to improve the oral health of Head Start participants. (July 2023)

Head Start Resources Are Just a Click Away- How easily can you find oral health resources on ECLKC (website) to share with Head Start staff, families, and health professionals? During this webinar you will participate in a guided tour with Sarah Kolo, OHRC communication specialist, exploring ECLKC. She also shares where you can find additional Head Start resources located on the OHRC website. Sarah provides basic tips to find resources, extended techniques for searching, and moves you can use to sign up for newsletters. Sarah is also available for one-on-one appointments if anyone would like further assistance. Sarah Kolo (April 2023)

Oral Health Messaging for Children's Dental Health Month - This webinar will identify four oral health messages Head Start programs can use to celebrate National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM). For each message, you will learn about strategies and resources to promote children's oral health in Head Start programs during NCDHM. You will also learn more about the Final Rule on Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19 in Head Start Programs (January 2023)

Archived DHL Webinars