Childrens Report Card

Sacramento County Childrens Coalition

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Dental Health

Sacramento County has enjoyed progress in the oral health of its children over the past decade. The proportion of children with healthy teeth and gums has increased from about half to more than two-thirds. But even with these improvements, challenges remain, as more than 40,000 children under 17 have never seen a dentist and as many as 25,000 school age children are burdened daily with serious, untreated dental health problems.

Oral Health Status

health 7a
health 7b

Why is this important?

  • Dental disease is one of the acute medical problems contributing to school absenteeism. More than 9,000 Sacramento County children miss at least one day of school due to dental problems on an annual basis.
  • Dental caries have long range consequences because they predispose the individual to a lifetime of dental, medical, and social problems that affect health, education, and quality of life.
  • The Smiles Keepers program provides no cost dental screenings to children at the school setting.

How are we doing?

  • The proportion of children with healthy teeth and gums has increased substantially (from 57% to 71%) over the past decade.
  • 8% of children in need of urgent dental care indicated that as many as 25,000 school age children have serious, untreated dental problems
  • In December 2012, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors established the Medi-Cal Dental Advisory Committee (MCDAC), consisting of oral health professionals, stakeholders and community members, to provide oversight and guidance to improve dental utilization rates, the delivery of oral health and dental care services, including prevention and education services, dental managed care and fee-for-service Denti-Cal. The formation of this committee was authorized by State Legislation [AB 1467 (Steinberg)] and requires State staff to meet with Sacramento County MCDAC representatives at least four times each year and provide annual reports to the Legislature.
  • State statistics show that for children receiving Medi-Cal benefits in Sacramento County, only 20% utilized their dental benefits in 2008. The utilization rate has increased to over 43% in 2012.

Dental Visits

health 7c health 7dx

Why is this important?

  • Good oral health allows children to eat properly, speak, smile and feel confident about themselves.
  • Tooth decay is an infection that does not heal without treatment.

How are we doing?

  • More than 8 our of every 10 children have been to a dentist within the past year.
  • Although a vast majority of children visit the dentist on a regular basis, 40,000 children in Sacramento County have never been to a dentist.
  • Two new children's dental clinics opened in 2010 and 2011, and three additional children's dental clinics will be open by 2013.


dental map

For a full size version of the map visit: First 5 Sacramento

Why is this important?

  • Studies show that water fluoridation results in up to 60% less decay in baby teeth and up to 35% less decay in adult teeth.
  • Water fluoridation was named as one of the most effective public health measures of the 20th century.
  • Fluoride works by stopping or even reversing the tooth decay process. It keeps tooth enamel strong and solid. Fluoride helps to remineralize tooth surfaces and prevent cavities from continuing to form.

How are we doing?

  • At the end of 2010, approximately 45% of Sacramento County’s residents have access to fluoridated drinking water.
  • Planning occurred in 2011 and during 2012 construction began at the Sacramento County Water Agency facilities to add fluoridation to its service area, including portions of Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove. When the system is operational, it is estimated that 65% of Sacramento County’s residents will have fluoridated drinking water. This project will be completed in 2013.
  • In 2012, the City of Sacramento received limited funding for immediate and pressing fluoridation equipment replacement. The City of Sacramento plans to continue to fluoridate its drinking water until at least June 2015.
  • In early 2013, Golden State Water Company began the process to develop a fluoridation plan and preliminary project cost report for future fluoridation of their Arden-Cordova service area.

Data Source for Screening Statistics: Smiles for Kids Sacramento

Data Source for Last Dental Visit: California Health Interview Survey

Data Source for Sacramento County Fluoridation Overview Map: First 5 Sacramento Commission

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 14:30