Assistance with Accessing Dental Care or Supplies
Smile Humboldt Family is here to help! Smile Humboldt Family is a program of Public Health that has Dental Coaches available to assist individuals and families with:
- Making dental appointments
- Coordinating transportation assistance
- Dental supplies
- Oral health tips and education.
If you are interested in receiving assistance or dental supplies, contact our Dental Coaches by emailing email@example.com or calling 707-476-4949.
The Importance of Oral Health
Dental disease is the most common chronic childhood disease, more frequent than hay fever and the common cold. In Humboldt County, one in four incoming kindergarteners have untreated tooth decay. Poor oral health can affect one’s ability to speak, chew, smile and concentrate. If left untreated, it can also lead to pain and infection.
According to the California Department of Public Health, oral health is an essential part of overall health throughout life. Oral health refers to more than just healthy teeth. It includes the health of the entire mouth. Good oral health means being free of:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Chronic oral pain
- Oral cancer
- Other conditions that affect the mouth and throat.
How to prevent tooth decay
- Brush twice a day
- Floss daily
- Visit the dentist twice a year
- Limit sugary foods and beverages.
Access to Care in Humboldt County
Private practice dentists take insurance and may accept cash payment. Dental offices can be contacted directly to see if they are accepting new patients and which insurance plans are accepted.
The Medi‑Cal Dental Program provides free or low‑cost dental services to children and adults who receive Medi‑Cal or Partnership HealthPlan. Most clinics that accept Medi-Cal Dental prioritize children, especially those in pain. Be sure to ask for a Well Child Dental Visit if you are making an appointment for a child who is 3 years old or younger. Some of the dental clinics listed below may not be accepting new adult patients or have long wait times for appointments.
Public Health's Role in Oral Health
Thanks to a grant funded by the Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Proposition 56), DHHS’s oral health staff are working in geographic regions with the highest rates of untreated tooth decay based on Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment data. The Smile Humboldt Family program provides care coordination, preventative education and resources to individuals and families. The program works with dental professionals to provide school-based services include dental screenings, cleanings, fluoride varnish and sealants for students in locations with the highest rates of decay. The program also provides care coordination support to individuals and families who request assistance with obtaining dental care coordination and supplies.
For decades, Public Health has been collaborating with oral health partners through local coalitions including the Dental Advisory Group (DAG) and the Oral Health Leadership Team (OHLT). Coalition partners include local dental professionals, community assistance providers, the California Center for Rural Policy and Redwood Community Action Agency’s TOOTH program. Humboldt County Public Health, along with other key partners, have identified disparities and gaps in oral health services and are working together to address the needs of our community (see Humboldt County Oral Health Needs Assessment 2018 (PDF)). To learn more about the coalition’s work and mission, please visit smilehumboldt.com.