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July 8, 2009 > Dental Days are here

Dental Days are here

By Meenu Gupta

Tooth infections can impair childrens' speech development and ability to concentrate, besides being painful. Dental Day is an opportunity for children who may not see a dentist regularly to get a regular, thorough check up on their teeth, mouth and gums. Dental Days at Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) is a partnership of Alameda County WIC and the Office of Dental Health with funding from First 5 Alameda County and the Dental Health Foundation. The WIC Program, a national nutrition education program, promotes healthy eating.

One day a week at the Hayward WIC office, the program provides on-site dental screenings and fluoride treatments for young children. Dental hygienists and case managers are available to provide service referrals and parent education to encourage families in preventive oral health care and healthy nutritional practices.

"For the first year, 'Dental Days at WIC' was held on every Wednesday of the year. Starting July 7, we are moving to Tuesdays of each week so that we can expand from two to three classes or clinical sessions each day," said Dr. Jared Fine, Dental Health Administrator, Alameda County Public Health Department.

First 5 Alameda County and the Alameda County Public Health Department recently celebrated the first anniversary of Dental Days at WIC. Twenty-nine families showed up at the event. What started as a pilot project has helped nearly 1,000 children in Alameda County receive dental care over the past year.

The event was attended by the staff of the Hayward WIC Office and the Office of Dental Health. Also present were private dental providers and dentists and dental staffs representing La Clinica de la Raza, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center, Eastmont Wellness Health Center, Native American Health Center and Lifelong Health Center. In addition, representatives from Alameda County First 5, the leadership of the Alameda County Public Health Department, the Dental Health Foundation and Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele were also present.

According to Dr. Fine, "Based on the success of this program, we are planning on expanding to at least one additional site, and hopefully more. We will also offer technical assistance to several of the Community Health Centers who have expressed interest in implementing the model. The collaborative partnership of the WIC program and the Office of Dental Health has addressed the dental health needs of very young children who are most at risk of developing dental disease."

Alameda County WIC Program- Hayward
24085 Amador Avenue, Hayward
www.alamedacountywic.org
(510) 595-6400

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