The new dental program will provide dental examinations, educational sessions and routine dental care for around 3,000 children and 1,000 pregnant women over the course of the next three years.
Weekly clinics have started in Apple Valley, Victorville, Fontana, San Bernardino, Adelanto and Ontario. The clinics cater for children under 5, pregnant women and a range of routine treatments, as well as preventative treatments, are available. Dentists also give out information packs and free toothbrushes and toothpastes.
The scheme has been set up to provide care for groups who are often neglected by dental providers. Many dentists refuse to treat patients on Medi-Cal and many pregnant women often struggle to afford regular dental treatments. Good oral health is very important during pregnancy, as pregnant women are prone to oral health conditions and many studies have linked gum disease in the mother to an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and birth, stillbirth and premature birth.
Arlene Glube, director of Southern California operations for the Center for Oral Health in Oakland, said that the program was set up to target pregnant women and young children. The center is also hoping to launch a new program for pregnant teenagers and open a new clinic in Chino by the end of the year.