Dental & Oral Health
Did you know that good oral health improves your overall health? Dental health is tied to the improvement of all health outcomes for all ages.
Oral health affects our ability to eat, speak, smile, and show emotion. Poor oral health affects self-esteem, school performance, and attendance at work or school. Oral diseases-which range from cavities and gum disease to oral cancer-cause pain and disability for millions of Coloradans each year. The SJBPH Regional Oral Health Specialist program serves La Plata, Archuleta, Montezuma, San Juan, and Dolores counties, and aims to improve oral health outcomes for all residents.
The School-Based Oral Health Program is funded in partnership with Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and provides preventative dental services to children ranging from pre-k to high school. Southwest Colorado has many rural communities where access to dental care is limited and numerous barriers to care exist. By providing these services at school, parents and guardians do not have to take time off work, and students spend less time away from school.
Services are provided by a Registered Dental Hygienist and include:
- Oral Health Instruction - Education on brushing, flossing, and healthy habits
- Dental Screening and Referrals - A hygienist will evaluate the teeth and soft tissue for decay and other dental needs and make referrals as necessary. This is not intended to replace regular visits to the dentist, but rather to supplement them. Screenings at an early age help children become more comfortable with the dentist.
- Fluoride Varnish - Fluoride varnish is a dental treatment that can help prevent tooth decay. It is painted on the teeth with a small brush and takes only a few seconds to apply. Fluoride varnish can decrease cavities by 33% and has been proven to be safe and effective.
- Sealants - Sealants are a thin plastic coating placed on permanent molars around ages 6 and 12 to seal grooves and pits, and form a barrier against decay. Applying dental sealants to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth can prevent cavities by 80%.
- Dental Cleaning - Dental cleanings, also called prophylaxis, are an important part of your child's oral health and can help prevent gum disease when combined with proper brushing and flossing.
For more information on our School-Based Oral Health Program, please contact our Regional Oral Health Specialist/Registered Dental Hygienist at: 970-585-6130.
Did you know that children should visit a dentist by age two? Children who receive four fluoride treatments by age three have reduced rates of decay. Seeing a dentist early promotes strong dental health, prevents early decay, and reduces dental fear.
CF3 teaches medical/dental providers and health advocates about early childhood caries and how to improve access to and delivery of preventive oral health services for young children and pregnant women.
For more information, please contact our Regional Oral Health Specialist/Registered Dental Hygienist at: 970-585-6130 or visit the Cavity Free at Three website.
Cavity Free Kids is an oral health education program for children from 0-5 and their families. It is designed for use in Head Start and Early Head Start, child care, preschool, home visitations, and other programs. Cavity Free Kids includes a rich collection of lessons, activities, stories, songs, and other resources that actively engage young children in fun-filled, play-based learning and help parents practice good oral health habits at home.
Early childhood professionals can earn up to 5.5 hours of professional development and will receive a tooth-healthy toolbox with a curriculum binder, family engagement tips, and an assortment of activity ideas and materials.
Sign up to become a Healthy Smiles Champion and you will receive the support and materials needed to begin implementing tooth brushing and coaching tools to support adding tooth-healthy practices in your program. This includes a cash stipend.
For more information, please contact our Regional Oral Health Specialist/Registered Dental Hygienist at: 970-585-6130 or visit the Cavity Free Kids website.
The Regional Oral Health Specialist provides dental navigation and care coordination to community members within Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores, and San Juan Counties.
- Referrals to oral health resources and providers
- Navigation of oral health benefits
- Advocation for members
- Assistance with complex oral health needs
For more information, please contact our Regional Oral Health Specialist/Registered Dental Hygienist at: 970-585-6130 or via email.
Benefits of fluoridation include:
- Fluoride is a naturally occurring element and is present in small amounts in almost all water supplies, soil, plants, and animals.
- Research shows that drinking optimally fluoridated water prevents approximately 25% of cavities. This is in addition to fluoridated toothpaste, mouthwash, and other sources of fluoride.
- Many water systems in Colorado have enough natural fluoride to prevent tooth decay.
- Among systems that don't, many choose to adjust their fluoride levels by taking part in the Community Water Fluoridation Program.
- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Oral Health Unit administers the program, ensuring the controlled adjustment of the natural fluoride concentration in water is in accordance with the latest scientific, dental, and health guidelines.
- Community water fluoridation is an evidence-based, cost-effective public health benefit. More than 70 years of research continue to support the safety and efficacy of community water fluoridation.
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment supports the 2015 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended fluoride concentration of 0.7 mg/L for adjusting public water systems.
- Infographic from the CDC (PDF)
For more information visit CDC Fluoridation Guidelines Website.
The Oral Health Coalition is an team of dental experts, organizations, businesses, and interested citizens that serves as a catalyst for action to improve oral health in our communities. The coalition meets quarterly and provides a nonpartisan forum that allows a diverse network of stakeholders to work together to make oral health accessible and equitable to all residents in Southwest Colorado.
If you would like to learn more about the Oral Health Coalition, call our Regional Oral Health Specialist at 970-585-6130 or contact us via email.
In 2016, SJBPH transitioned operations of its Dental Clinic to Axis Health System. SJBPH had been operating a dental clinic in The Commons Building in Durango for several years as a safety net service to ensure Health First Colorado (Medicaid), uninsured, and underinsured dental patients could access an oral healthcare resource in this community. Axis has been building capacity to continue direct dental services as the local community health center.
Oral disease, although nearly 100% preventable, affects both children and adults across the state of Colorado every day. While oral diseases are significant themselves, their relationship to overall general health is often overlooked. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Oral Health Unit is working to show connections between oral health and general health such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and pregnancy outcomes.