Free Event to Help Children’s Smiles Shine Bright

Image Credit: PhotoSpin

Many children in our community do not have a regular dentist and do not receive routine dental care or prevention services. The annual “Give Kids a Smile” event aims to change that.

The County’s Dental Health Initiative/Share the Care program, the San Diego Dental Health Foundation, First 5 San Diego and eight community dental clinics will be providing free screenings, dental sealants and fluoride varnish to low-income children ages 1 to 18 years who have no dental resources. The screenings will take place Saturday, Feb. 25, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at eight locations across the county (see list below).

“We hope that through this event families will gain not only needed services, but it will introduce them to local professionals who can provide regular exams and treatment in the future,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.H.P., County public health officer.

“Sealants and varnish are an important preventative measure in reducing cavities and protecting teeth, but the cost is often prohibitive for some families.”

Out of just under 20,000 San Diego County kindergartners who submitted information for the 2014-15 annual oral health assessment report, nearly 4,100 of them reported having current untreated tooth decay.

Cavities are infectious, painful, and can be prevented. Taking care of your children’s teeth and visiting a dentist regularly are important for good oral health. Proper care includes making sure they get dental sealants and/or fluoride varnish which are a safe and painless way to protect teeth and help prevent cavities.

Fluoride varnish is a special coating painted on all teeth. Dental sealants are a special coating placed on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These services are cost effective and cost less than fixing a tooth if a cavity develops.

All public school children are required to have an oral health screening upon entering kindergarten, and this event satisfies that requirement. Participants can receive a completed oral health assessment form for school.

Families can call 619-692-8858 to schedule an appointment for the location nearest them. Children with appointments will be given priority, but walk-ins are welcome.

Here is a list of the eight locations countywide:
1. Diamond Neighborhoods
Family Health Center
4725 Market Street
San Diego, CA 92102

2. Fallbrook Family
Health Center
1328 S. Mission Road
Fallbrook, CA 92028

3. Mountain Health
Santee Family Medicine
120 Town Center Parkway
Santee, CA 92071

4. Neighborhood Healthcare
Ray M. Dickinson Wellness Center
425 N Date St., Suite 129
Escondido, CA 92025

5. North County Health Services
2216 El Camino Real, #121-122
Oceanside, CA 92054

6. Operation Samahan Mira Mesa Clinic
10737 Camino Ruiz, Suite 235
San Diego, CA 92126

7. San Ysidro South Bay Family Health and Dental Center
#330-340 E 8th Street
National City, CA 91950

8. Vista Community Clinic: Vale Terrace
1000 Vale Terrace Dr.
Vista, CA 92084

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact