Program Promotes Oral Health Among Children
A program that provides dental care to more than 500 children ages three to five aims to educate children about dental health and preventive dental care, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. A study released in February found dental disease was the primary health problem among California children.
The program uses five mothers -- called promotoras -- who received training from the University of California-Los Angeles' Oral Health Promotion Program. The promotoras apply fluoride and cavity-fighting sealants if needed. They also can make referrals to dentists for more severe dental problems.
Children and their parents at nine Head Start programs in North Hollywood, Pacoima and San Fernando receive toothbrushes and toothpaste every three months through the program. The program is funded through First 5 California, which administers proceeds of a state tax to fund children's health care and education programs.
Nancy Reifel, an assistant researcher with the UCLA program, said that results so far have been positive and that instances of baby bottle tooth decay have declined because of educational efforts (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 4/18).