Contact: Kim Caldewey, Health Program Manager
Administration Division, Sonoma County Department of Health Services
…The American Dental Association believes that education and prevention are the ultimate keys to extending good oral health to those who don’t have it. Responding to the need to dramatically increase oral health literacy and access to preventive and restorative care among underserved populations, the ADA in 2006 launched a pilot project to produce community health workers whose training focuses on oral health. These Community Dental Health Coordinators (CDHCs) work in underserved rural, urban and Native American communities, bringing more people into the oral health system. As of Fall 2013, the CDHC project has graduated 34 students who are now serving in 26 communities in seven states: Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wisconsin….
Connected to the Community
CDHCs are typically recruited from the same types of communities in which they will serve, often the actual communities in which they grew up. This all but eliminates cultural, language and other barriers that might otherwise reduce their effectiveness. Their connections to the communities help establish trust and make them role models.
By focusing on oral health education and disease prevention, the CDHC can empower people in underserved communities to manage their own oral health. When disease requires treatment, the CDHC can link patients with dentists who can provide that treatment, and can help obtain other services—such as child care or transportation—that patients may need in order to receive care…
Sonoma County Department of Health Services and the Dental Health Network
Since 2015, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services Dental Health Program has supported the Dental Health Network, a community of practice with a goal of 75% cavity-free kindergarteners by 2020. In 2014, the Smile Survey reported that an astonishing 50%+ of Sonoma County children in kindergarten and third grade have already experienced dental decay, a preventable and chronic disease five times more common than asthma.
South Carolina PASOS Program to support oral health
healthy children. knowledgeable families.
Oral Health Promotion
Why is dental health important to young children?
By practicing good dental health, children learn to chew properly, speak normally and have a good smile. By preventing problems at an early age, parents can save time and money, and save their children pain and potential developmental issues later on.
In 2015, PASOs collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Health Division of Oral Health with pilot funding support from this division and the Eccleston Butler Family Fund to establish PASOs Dental Health Initiative, which aimed to support parents in maintaining or improving the oral health of their children.
In the Midlands of SC, a PASOs Community Health Worker delivered one-on-one preventive oral health education from which 221 children benefitted. She also provided connection to resources such as bilingual dentists, via home visits, outreach, and Spanish-language radio education.
Through this program, parents and caregivers engaged in learning information on:
The role that primary teeth play in development
The tooth decay process
How to care for the child’s mouth before and after teeth arrive
The benefits of fluoride in water and through varnish application
The importance of preventing injuries to the mouth and the best response to basic injuries
The importance of infants receiving an oral risk assessment and of having a dental home for the child by age 1
The impact of feeding habits and nutrition on oral health.