What is this service?
The Public Health Department works with numerous community partners on policy development, oral health education, increasing access to dental care, and ensuring every child has a primary or 'home base' dentist. Since preventing cavities in early childhood reduces the risk of dental disease for a lifetime, the program also provides limited preventive services for children enrolled in the WIC program and home-based Head Start programs. The Oral Health Coalition meets regularly at the Public Health Department. Coalition members help set direction and establish a strategic plan every three years.
Who can use this service?
Any school, organization, or community group can request an educational presentation.
Preventive services are currently focused on children (0-5 years) who are enrolled in applicable programs, though whenever possible, the team will provide information on resources and services for older children, adults, and the elderly.
Is there a charge for this service?
This service is provided free of charge, although insurance providers may be billed for preventive services, if applicable. No one is turned away due to lack of insurance.
When and where is this service offered?
For more information, please call the Health Promotion office at (805) 781-5564.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is fluoride and how does it affect my teeth?
Tooth decay is caused by certain bacteria in the mouth. When a person eats sugar and other refined carbohydrates, these bacteria produce acid that removes minerals from the surface of the tooth. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps to put minerals back into the tooth and prevents cavities from continuing to form. Topical fluoride reaches the teeth directly to stop the decay-producing bacteria in plaque, and to stabilize minerals in the teeth. This treatment is most effective when delivered at low doses throughout the day, such as in food, water, or fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash, though it can also be applied at higher doses by a qualified dental professional.
Fluoride’s action in preventing tooth decay benefits both children and adults throughout their lives. The health benefits of fluoride are—
- Fewer cavities and less severe cavities.
- Less need for fillings and tooth extractions.
- Less pain and suffering associated with tooth decay.
How do sugary drinks like soda and juice affect my teeth?
Everyone has harmful bacteria in their mouths, but drinking sugary drinks like juice or soda allows the bacteria to thrive, producing harmful acid in the process. This acid wears away the enamel on your teeth, causing cavities to form or erosion to occur. Reducing your consumption of sugary beverages (and replacing them with better choices like water, unsweetened tea, milk or diluted juice) helps protect your teeth.
Note: If you are going to consume sugary beverages, try to drink (not sip) them. Each sip of a sugary beverage causes your mouth’s acid to spike – an increase which can last up to an hour. If you sip on a soda or juice throughout the day, this can lead to much more damage than if you were to drink the beverage quickly (and allow your body time to wash away the sugar and acid).
For more information on the effect of sugary beverages on your oral health, click here.
What local dentists take Denti-Cal?
We know it can often be difficult to find a dentist that takes Denti-Cal. To find a local provider for you or your child, please call the Health Promotion office at (805) 781-5564 and we can help refer you to one in your area.
What other resources are available for maintaining good oral health?