Oral Health

The Need
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:
  • Education
  • Access and treatment
  • Partnerships for prevention.

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.

Contact Us

  1. Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health

    Ph: 707-445-6210

    Monday - Friday
    8:30 a.m. - Noon
    1-5 p.m.

    CareLine for Family Health

    Ph: 800-698-0843