Santa Rosa, CA – October 28, 2013 – This week, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services and Community Action
Partnership (CAP) are launching a school-based dental program to provide
children with protective sealants on their teeth. This initiative will be
piloted at Bellevue Union School District's 4 elementary schools and 2
elementary schools in Petaluma. There will be no cost to families. Additional
County public schools will be served after evaluation of the pilot. Along with
the recent Healthy Teeth for Healthy Life educational campaign, this program
promotes dental health in Sonoma County, with a special focus on children. The
educational campaign focuses on steps to prevent dental decay and on resources
for accessing dental care in Sonoma County.
"With an estimated 5 of every 10 Sonoma County children suffering from dental
decay, we need to assure access to effective preventive treatments, like dental
sealants," stated Dr. Lynn Silver Chalfin, Sonoma County Health Officer. "We are
very excited about this great partnership with CAP and our local schools and
hope to expand the program throughout the county over the coming years."
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are put onto the chewing
surfaces of permanent teeth. The sealant creates a protective barrier that keeps
food from getting trapped in the grooves of the tooth, reducing the risk of
decay. Health professionals recommend that children get sealants on their first
permanent molars around the age of 6 or 7, and on the second permanent molar
around age 12.
"When the Department of Health Services approached our School District about
this pilot program, we were absolutely thrilled," stated Dr. Alicia Henderson,
Bellevue Union School District Superintendent. "Dental problems can affect a
child's ability to learn and pay attention in school, and anything we can do to
help facilitate improved dental health for our students is a win."
The program will take about 6 weeks from start to finish at each school.
Students whose parents have signed consents will be eligible to participate.
Dental professionals will first conduct exams on all the students whose parents
consent to determine which children's teeth are ready. Children in whom other
dental problems are identified will be referred for care.
The on-site dental services are expected to place sealants on the teeth of
over 300 students during the initial pilot period.
"The unfortunate fact is that each day in Sonoma County nearly a dozen
children need to undergo surgery under general anesthesia to repair teeth
damaged from dental decay," said Dr. Susan Cooper, who, along with Kathy Kane,
Registered Hygienist, is the lead organizer of the pilot program with Community
Action Partnership. "Dental sealants along with community water fluoridation are
two of the top ways to help reduce the incidence of dental disease in children.
I am so pleased that the County is making dental health a top priority."
For more information on the Department's
Dental Sealant Program or the Healthy Teeth for Healthy Life campaign, please
contact the County at Dentalinfo@Sonoma-County.org. Visit our Facebook