Health 740

Children have access to pediatric dental care

Dental CareWhat We Do

We help increase children’s access to dental care. Our range of supports includes funding preventive dental health programs, building providers’ capacity, and leading community-wide efforts to promote pediatric dental health.

Why We Do It

Research shows that untreated tooth decay has many negative health consequences. Over half of Sonoma County kindergartners have tooth decay, and nearly one in five have untreated tooth decay (2014 Sonoma County Smile Survey (PDF)). Increasing children’s access to care and teaching their caregivers about dental health will benefit children’s long-term health and well-being.

Our Results

First 5’s advocacy efforts and financial support helped increase the availability of pediatric dental care in the County.

First 5 Sonoma County’s Leadership in Pediatric Dental Health

We are committed to increasing children’s access to dental care.

Our efforts include:

  • Convening the Oral Health Task Force, which created new policy and program recommendations, such as: integrating oral health into primary healthcare, adding clinic capacity, expanding the pediatric dental care workforce, and monitoring progress.
  • Supporting oral health before birth. First 5 grantee, Community Action Partnership, led a project to integrate oral health into prenatal care for low-income  women, educate caregivers and providers about children’s oral health, and ensure children see a dentist by their first birthday.
  • Quadrupling pediatric dental clinic capacity from 6 to 25 chairs.
  • Inspiring other funders. First 5 helped encourage other funders to give a total of $960,000 to support children’s oral health. 

WIC Dental Days

A WIC Dental Days client celebrates her 5th cavity free visit!

A WIC Dental Days client
celebrates her 5th cavity free visit!

toothFirst 5 funds the WIC Dental Days program to promote the dental health of children from low-income families who are unlikely to have a dental home. Through the program, WIC families can access preventive dental care for their children, nutrition classes for caregivers, and referrals for additional services.

WIC Dental Days recently celebrated its 10,000 preventive dental visit, since the program began in 2010.

  • 12,237 caregivers have learned about behaviors they can teach their children to promote oral health and prevent tooth decay
  • 3,392 children have found a dental home at WIC, returning for one or more dental visits at WIC sites
  • 97% of children receiving WIC Dental Days services would not otherwise have received care
  • 83% of children returned, showing no signs of new dental disease

Learn more about WIC Dental Days

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Oral health issues are now a top priority for health and social services providers as well as funders and policy makers alike. First 5 has been instrumental in [translating] awareness [into] action!

First 5 Sonoma County Stakeholder