First 5 provides screenings, varnishes, and increased access to fluoridated drinking water. One in three children between the ages of 1 and 5 years do not have access to dental insurance and a third have never visited a dentist. Thirty-three First 5 county commissions invested $23 million last year to improve young children’s oral health, serving 214,234 children. In many counties, First 5 is the only funder of dental care for young low-income children. Outcome evaluation data from several commissions show a steady decline in the number of children with oral problems and severity of decay, and the improvement or maintenance of good oral health practices.

County Spotlight: Butte, Tehama and Glenn

Residents of Butte, Tehama and Glenn counties, located in the northern Sacramento Valley, face many challenges, including social and geographic isolation, and inadequate access to medical and dental services.

The First 5 county commissions in these three rural counties have jointly invested in a Mobile Dental Clinic. The clinic serves as a dental home for children and pregnant women in rural areas, returning to sites every three to six months and serving over eight children per day, on average. The Mobile Dental Clinic provides exams, x-rays, cleanings, sealants, varnish, oral hygiene information, fillings, extractions and referrals.

“First 5 has the resource base to allow them to be the convener. It has pulled partners together and determined a way to deliver oral health services more effectively.”

-Jon Roth, Director, California Dental Association Foundation