Saturday, August 18 , 2018, 3:39 pm | Partly Cloudy 74º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

February Is Month to Take Bite Out of Tooth Decay

Dental decay is the most common chronic disease among children that can be prevented through regular screening, early identification, preventative education, and treatment, Santa Barbara County reports.

Local Regional Dental Access Resource Teams and the countywide Oral Health Executive Committee comprised of local dental providers, CenCal Health, Community Health Care Centers of the Central Coast, Public Health, First 5 and Santa Barbara County Education Office have been supporting children’s dental health for more than 20 years.

“Dental disease is a serious issue in Santa Barbara County with more than 40 percent of children in Head Start and state preschools having untreated decay," said Mary Ellen Rehse, Oral Health Program manager with Health Linkages.

"However, we have seen great improvements in Santa Maria where decay rates have dropped to half after the community approved water fluoridation and pediatricians began utilizing fluoride varnish treatments,” she said.

Research shows oral health is critical to a child’s overall health affecting nutrition, growth, academic performance and quality of life, the county said.

"Children need their teeth to eat properly, talk, smile and feel good about themselves. Helping your child maintain a proper dental care routine is key to his or her overall development," the county said.

The county Board of Supervisors on Feb. 6 declared February as National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Supervisor Joan Hartmann gave representatives from Santa Barbara County Public Health, Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO), First 5 Santa Barbara County, and Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics a formal copy of the proclamation.

Ed Tran of the Public Health Department, Rehse with SBCEO, Teressa Johnes with First 5 and Dr. Dominic Caluori with Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics accepted the proclamation.

For more information on keeping children's teeth healthy, visit or contact Rehse at 964-4710 x4465.  For a free toothbrush for children under 5 years of age, contact Katie Torres, 560-1039.

For more about First 5 Santa Barbara County, call 884-8085 or visit

— Gina DePinto for Santa Barbara County.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.


Special Reports

Heroin Rising
<p>Lizette Correa shares a moment with her 9-month-old daughter, Layla, outside their Goleta home. Correa is about to graduate from Project Recovery, a program of the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, and is determined to overcome her heroin addiction — for herself and for her daughter. “I look at her and I think ‘I need to be here for her and I need to show her an example, I don’t want her to see me and learn about drugs’,” she says.</p>

In Struggle to Get Clean, and Stay That Way, Young Mother Battles Heroin Addiction

Santa Barbara County sounds alarm as opiate drug use escalates, spreads into mainstream population
Safety Net Series
<p>Charles Condelos, a retired banker, regularly goes to the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics for his primary care and to renew his prescription for back pain medication. He says Dr. Charles Fenzi, who was treating him that day at the Westside Clinic, and Dr. Susan Lawton are some of the best people he’s ever met.</p>

Safety Net: Patchwork of Clinics Struggles to Keep Santa Barbara County Healthy

Clinics that take all comers a lifeline for low-income patients, with new health-care law about to feed even more into overburdened system. First in a series
Prescription for Abuse
<p>American Medical Response emergency medical technicians arrive at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with little time to spare for victims of prescription drug overdoses.</p>

Quiet Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse Taking a Toll on Santa Barbara County

Evidence of addiction shows an alarming escalation, Noozhawk finds in Prescription for Abuse special report
Mental Health
<p>Rich Detty and his late wife knew something was wrong with their son, Cliff, but were repeatedly stymied in their attempts to get him help from the mental health system. Cliff Detty, 46, died in April while in restraints at Santa Barbara County’s Psychiatric Health Facility.</p>

While Son Struggled with Mental Illness, Father Fought His Own Battle

Cliff Detty's death reveals scope, limitations of seemingly impenetrable mental health system. First in a series