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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 http://first5santabarbaracounty.org/parents/oral-health/ 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 www.First5SBC.org.

— Gina DePinto for Santa Barbara County.

 

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