Dad and kid brushing teeth
Local Government

Connecting Kids to Dental Care

Dad and kid brushing teeth

Did you know that tooth decay is preventable and when kids have healthy teeth, they feel and do better in school? Sacramento County Public Health is working with community organizations to increase access to dental care and to educate parents about how to prevent dental disease so the whole family can live healthier lives without dental pain.

Brush up on how you can empower children to succeed with a healthy bright smile by taking the Do You Know Your Dental Facts? Fun Dental Quiz!​
Sacramento County Public Health Officer, Olivia Kasirye, said, “Tooth decay in children results in dental pain, missed school days and hinders student success. Cavities do not heal on their own, and therefore, need intervention by a dentist. Together, we can work to prevent tooth decay, tooth loss, and help our children be successful in school.”

First – Let’s Increase Dental Access

If you have Medi-Cal, you have dental benefits. In Sacramento County, approximately 58% of children who have Medi-Cal do not regularly visit the dentist even though dental care is a covered benefit. Studies show that children are more likely to visit the dentist if their parents do, too. Be the oral health role model your children need.

If you don’t have Medi-Cal, call Sacramento Covered at 916-414-8333 to help determine if you qualify and/or to sign up for free or low-cost health coverage. If you don’t qualify, Sacramento Covered will provide other options to help you get the dental care you need. The Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance also helps determine eligibility for Medi-Cal, CalFresh and more – call 916-874-3100.

Second – Let’s Brush Up on Dental Facts

  • Cavities are not something that everyone gets – you can prevent cavities and dental disease by brushing twice a day, making healthy food/drink choices, and visiting a dentist regularly. Have you heard these dental health tips?
  • If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, see your dentist for a checkup 
  • From day one, protect baby’s dental health
    • Wipe baby’s gums after feeding with a soft cloth or finger toothbrush
    • Only put water in a baby’s bottle at bedtime (if a bottle is needed)
    • Make baby’s first dental appointment when their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday
  • Baby teeth matter for the development of healthy permanent teeth, speech and proper eating 
  • 2x2x2 – Brush with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day for two minutes and visit your dentist twice ​a year
  • Dental sealants and fluoride varnish greatly reduce the risk for cavities
  • Make healthy food choices and limit sugary snacks and drinks

​Third – Let’s Learn about the Sacramento County Public Health’s Oral Health Program

Sacramento County Public Health offers oral health education; dental provider resources; referral assistance for parents, school staff, and public health professionals; and works to improve access to dental care services. 

  • Dental Transformation Initiative – To increase access to dental care for Medi-Cal eligible children aged 0-20 years old, the Every Smile Counts! pilot projects use innovative strategies to reach families including the Virtual Dental Home, Medical/Dental Partnerships, and Community Outreach and Parent Education. Watch the Dental Transformation Initiative video
  • Rethink Your Drink – A campaign to teach children and parents about the amount of sugar and calories found in commonly consumed beverages, and the impact it has on physical, as well as oral health.  
  • Tobacco Cessation – Developing and delivering evidence-based training and resource materials for oral health professionals to assist clients in making healthy choices.
  • Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment – To help connect children to needed dental services, the County works with community partners to increase the number of students that receive a dental assessment and the number of schools and school districts that report the data. 

Call the Sacramento County Oral Health Program to learn more about oral health education and resources at 916-875-5947, and be sure to check out the First 5 Sacramento Dental website for dental information specific to 0-5-year-olds.

The Sacramento County Dental Health Program receives funding from the California State Department of Public Health through Proposition 56, the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act. As part of this grant, the Oral Health Program undertook a countywide oral health needs assessment to develop projects to support the California Oral Health Plan and to meet the unique needs of county residents. 



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