A dental health advocate for all students

West Shore School District  |  Posted on

Debra Barr wears many hats. As a certified school dental hygienist and public health dental hygiene practitioner in the West Shore School District, she is one of the few left in her profession in the area.

Once present in most schools in Pennsylvania, there are now fewer than 50 certified school dental hygienists in the 500 school districts across the state. “People have lost sight of what certified school dental hygienists can offer to the school community,” Barr said. “But before I retire, I’m determined to get the word out.” Barr’s position in the district, located in Cumberland and York counties, has many focus points, depending on the time of year. In the beginning of the school year, she organizes and operates a fluoride supplement program. “Half of the students in West Shore School District don’t have fluoride in their water,” she said. With their parents’ permission, the teachers will give them a fluoride tablet every morning. She also conducts dental screenings at the elementary and middle schools, and teaches K-6 and grade 8 dental health lessons. “Unhealthy children can’t learn,” she said. “I do what I can to enhance children’s health to make them better learners.”

Read more here.