Dental Health Care for Low Income in Sonoma County

I attended my first meeting of the SCOHAC (Sonoma County Oral Health Access Coalition) this week and was amazed at the dedication and time that is given to helping promote more dental education in Sonoma County. Dr. Susan Cooper led the quarterly meeting attended by representatives  from the St Joseph’s system, public dental clinics, hygienists’ organization, Sonoma County Health Services, SRHC Health Sciences,  and other organizations and individual physicians  hygienists and dentists.

The Sonoma County Health Services has done some focus group research and is mounting a new campaign to help improve education for  low income families of all ethnic groups in the dental arena.   The SCOHAC  has simplified it mission and goals which aim at increasing access to dental care for everyone in our communities . What I took out of this meeting is that although many people are working hard and many dentists donating time to the clinics and in their own offices, access to quality, affordable care, especially children, is still a major concern among low income groups.

You can learn more at www.capsonoma.org and www.sonoma-county.org/health

Notes to Teens about Oral Health

The ADA publishes pamphlets just for teens and two of the items caught my eye recently – oral piercings among teens and mouth guards for athletes.

I don’t see many piercings but remember oral piercings can become infected easily. Mainly, I have seen chipped teeth and gum tissue receded and bone lost from tongue studs hitting the back of the lower front teeth.

Perhaps more important to me  is the use of mouth guards for anyone in a contact sport.  Front teeth should be for smiling and whistling, not for stopping balls, bats, elbows, or sidewalks.  Breaking front teeth is preventable so consider a mouth guard for yourself or your teen.

Remember, Candy Buyback, my office, Thursday Nov. 1 from 3-5PM!

Halloween Candy Buyback: November 1

Turn Halloween candy into dollars!  Our office will be buying back candy the day after Halloween for a good cause – Healdsburg SOS (Support Our Soldiers). Mary St Clair who heads up the local SOS will be re-packaging the candy for Christmas packages being sent to soldiers in Afghanistan. Of course, tooth brushes and toothpaste will be in the packages too.

zombie

Dr. Pam checks a Zombie’s mouth for cavities!

 We invite your kids to pop over to our office at 1526 Healdsburg Avenue between 3 and 5 PM and we will buy back their candy.  Each child will get $1 for each pound of candy and a small gift.   The buyback will be for the first 100 pounds of candy only so arrive early!!

CareCredit: A Health Care Credit Card

You know that you have dental problems, or your child is identified at a school screening as having decay. Unfortunately, dental decay is a progressive disease caused by bacteria that can spread from tooth to tooth. You know the decay isn’t getting better but times are tough, what do you do?

Consider asking your dentist if they are involved with CareCredit, a CDA endorsed plan that offers patients a dental credit card.  Some of the payment plans even offer 0% interest.

The advantage for you is that this allows you to get the disease in your mouth treated.  Your goal is to have a healthy, comfortable and attractive smile.  CareCredit may help you to get there sooner rather than later when more damage will have occurred.

Call our office at  433-0210 for more information.

Myths surrounding Antibiotic Use In Dentistry

The Winter 2012 Newsletter from the American Association of Endodontists is packed with the newest information on myths surrounding antibiotic use in dentistry. Let’s look at three myths.

Myth #1: Antibiotics cure patients. According to research, antibiotics do not cure. They only help to restore the balance between the patient’s defense and the invading bug.

Myth #2: Antibiotics are a substitute for other dental treatment . It is rare that antibiotics are a good substitute for the removal of the cause of the infection – root canal therapy, extraction, drainage, etc.

Myth # 3: The important decision is which antibiotic to use. Instead, the most important decision is whether to use an antibiotic at all. Again, many mouth infections can be solved by dental treatment and not antibiotics.

Norway and the Superbugs!

Superbugs!

You may know someone who developed a bad infection in the hospital while being treated for something else. The costs of these types of infections are $4.4 billion per year in the US alone. Medical and dental overuse of antibiotics is causing a worldwide problem due to mutations of the bacteria to form resistant strains.

A hopeful 2009 report from Norway suggests perhaps the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics may be reversed. Norway is the only country where killer superbugs are not a problem. Why?  ”We don’t throw antibiotics at every person with a fever. We tell them to hang on, wait and see…” said Dr. John Haug, infectious disease specialist at Aker University Hospital. Maybe we should be asking our doctors and dentists if we really need that antibiotic next time.

SCOHAC: Sonoma County Health Access Coalition

You may have already read about Dr. Everson’s experience with Give Kids A Smile Day in February. Over 450 kids without access to dental care were given preventative and restorative care on February 3rd and 4th. But just who is behind that awesome event? SCOHAC (Sonoma County Oral Health Access Coalition)!

dr pam with sohac

In 2009 it was determined that, in Sonoma County, “almost half of our kindergarteners and about 6 out of 10 3rd graders have experienced tooth decay, and over 16% of them have untreated decay.” (Sonoma Smile Survey 2009, Sonoma Health Alliance) The Sonoma County Health Access Coalition works with dentists and organizations to provide local individuals with the oral health care everyone deserves.

What to know a little more about SCOHAC?

Mission

The mission of SCOHAC is to collaborate in the promotion of oral health through advocacy, prevention, education and improved access to care for all people in our community.

Goals

Influence Policy and Legislation by advocating for fluoridation of public water supplies, increased access for children’s dental services, expansion of dental insurance programs and improved private provider networks.

Mobilize neighborhoods and communities by identifying common goals and a set of community indicators for children’s oral health and organize as a community advisory group.

Change organizational practices by promoting efforts to establish a dental home for every child and encouraging health care providers to detect dental caries as a primary health care prevention strategy.

Foster coalition and networks by convening quarterly; connecting networks of dental providers; encouraging childhood obesity, nutrition and oral health coalitions to understand the linkages and work together collaboratively.

Educate providers by conducting an education campaign to make oral health an accepted part of overall health care and services.

Promote community education by educating and training teachers, parents, nurses, childcare providers and others who serve children about oral health issues and the integrating of oral health messages into communications at all service sites.

Strengthen individual knowledge and skills so service and medical providers can educate parents about the importance of using dental insurance and early periodic dental visits for children: Expand education programs for families about oral health and hygiene.

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For questions or information about SCOHAC or our oral health programs, please contact: Susan Cooper, DDS, Chair SCOHAC and Dental Director, Community Action Partnership at scooper@capsonoma.org