Dental disease is the most common chronic childhood disease; more frequent than hayfever and the common cold. In local schools with low-income populations, approximately 30% of children have untreated cavities.
How We Responded A diverse group of dental advocates-private practice dentists, dental clinic providers, non-profit organizations, schools and local foundations-convened in February of 2000 to address the oral health needs of Humboldt County’s children, youth and pregnant women. In July, 2001, this Dental Advisory Group (DAG) conducted a needs assessment and developed the strategic plan found in Humboldt County Children’s Oral Health Report.
Members of the DAG, through the Circle of Smiles Partnership, focus on the following areas:
Access and treatment
Partnerships for prevention.
Accomplishments Highlights of DAG accomplishments include:
Teaching Oral Optimism Throughout Humboldt (TOOTH) Program providing oral health education to children
The hospital based dentistry program
Mobile dental services treating children at local school sites and outlying areas
Sealants and Smiles program providing no-cost sealants to low-income children
Water fluoridation campaign
Holiday Funding Partnership-including oral health supplies in community food baskets
The Well Child Dental Visit/Fluoride Varnish Clinic partnership with Maternal Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH), Public Health Nursing, and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
Oral health educational magnet placed in breastfeeding support bags offered to all new parents at time of delivery
A brochure for children and their families, “What to Expect at the Dentist”
Oral health practices / needs survey of local dentists, obstetricians and pediatricians.
A coordinator works to improve oral health for children, youth and pregnant women by:
Identifying disparities and gaps in oral health service and working with DAG to address the needs of the community
Raising provider and community awareness about oral health issues
Working with local, state and national foundations to ensure funding for local oral health initiatives
Overseeing the Well Child Dental Visit / Fluoride Varnish clinics
Maintaining the listing of dental providers that accept Medi-Cal and Healthy Families Dental Insurance
Facilitating the DAG.
Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health