The Health Trust has invested more than $8.6 million to improve the oral health of residents in Silicon Valley. By using a community outreach model to educate residents on good oral health habits, The Health Trust has taken proactive, preventive measures to improve the overall health of the community. The Health Trust, which speak a number of languages including Spanish, Tagalog, and Hindi, also connects families to health care and dental providers by offering health insurance enrollment assistance.
While strides have been made in improving the oral health of Silicon Valley, we can still do better. The following statistics of Santa Clara County were the result of studies done over the last decade:
- More than half of children from low-income families enter kindergarten with untreated tooth decay.
- 22 percent of children under the age of 13 have never seen a dentist.
- One-third of adults have lost a tooth due to decay or gum disease.
- 28 percent of adults did not have dental insurance last year.
- Asian and Hispanic kindergartners have three times the incidence rates of tooth decay compared to their white counterparts.
The Health Trust addresses the oral health challenges in Silicon Valley in three ways: sponsoring two Children’s Dental Centers in Sunnyvale and east San Jose, conducting oral health education workshops in the community, and supporting water fluoridation in San Jose.
Children's Dental Centers
The Health Trust, in partnership with Children’s Dental Group, opened a Children’s Dental Center in east San Jose in June of 2008. Three years later, we also supported the opening of a Children’s Dental Center in Sunnyvale. Currently owned and operated by Western Dental, these two centers represent an innovative approach to providing pediatric dentistry that is significantly improving access to high-quality dental care for the children of Silicon Valley. This approach combines the latest equipment, technologies and best practices of pediatric dentistry with a fun, kid-friendly environment that is welcoming to all children and families.
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Oral Health Education
The Health Trust provides oral health outreach and education through promotoras
who are community health workers trained on general concepts about oral health. The promotoras
conduct outreach in English and in Spanish and recruit families to host home meetings where the oral health education is delivered to small groups of children and adults. Emphasis is placed on four principles of oral health: proper brushing, daily flossing, balanced diet and seeing the dentist on a regular basis. Last year, more than 1,000 individuals received oral health education in homes and community sites. For more information on our oral health education workshops, email TranT@healthtrust.org
or call 408.961.9830.
Water Fluoridation in Silicon Valley
Water fluoridation is an “effective, safe, and inexpensive way to improve the overall oral health of our community,” according to the U.S Surgeon General. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conclude that “community water fluoridation is one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th Century.” Despite these benefits, San Jose is currently the largest city in the United States without fluoridated water.
The Health Trust is leading the campaign to bring the benefits of fluoridated water to all of Santa Clara County.
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