Keep the North Country Smiling

The Keep the North Country Smiling (KNCS) coalition, comprised of local health departments, dental providers, pediatric primary care providers, and health and human service agencies across Oswego, Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties, is working regionally to address significant adverse health indices related to poor oral health throughout the region.  KNCS was created in 2017 as an expansion of the Keep Jefferson Smiling initiative, when Jefferson County served as one of two New York State children’s oral health pilot programs with the City of Buffalo, to develop broad community coalitions to advance children’s oral health in more meaningful and measurable capacities.  Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease throughout New York State and the United States, and is almost entirely preventable.  The New York State Department of Health, together with the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy and the New York State Health Foundation, supported Jefferson County in its work to establish and train a coalition, and to develop a work plan with measurable deliverables to increase use of fluoride varnish treatment applications by primary care providers; improve oral health practices of Pre-K children via an evidence-based curriculum to improve tooth brushing practices correlating in a reduction in cavities from baseline; and maintain and/or expand access to community water fluoridation.  With the Keep Jefferson Smiling initiative concluded, the coalition decided to continue on, and the three counties contiguous to Jefferson asked to join together to create the regional Keep the North Country Smiling coalition.

Keep the North Country Smiling 2017-2020 goals include:

  • Integrate oral health into systems, policies and programs which improve oral health.
  • Prevent oral diseases and address risk factors through evidence-based interventions.
  • All children will be well and have access to oral health care and cleaning resources for proper oral health hygiene.
  • Increase capacity, diversity, and flexibility of the workforce to meet the needs of Oswego, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence County populations.

Please access the current KNCS 2017-2020 work plan via the link below to review activities and progress to date.  Contact Stephen A. Jennings, Director of Public Health at (315) 786-3710 to ask questions or become involved with the coalition. 

Keep the North Country Smiling Workplan