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FREE Sonoma County Dental Clinics for Children


FREE Sonoma County Dental Clinics for Children

SRJC Dental Hygiene students giving children free teeth cleanings at Forestville Elementary, Feb 19, 2015

Double Benefit: FREE Dental Clinics Teach Healthy Habits while  Cleaning Teeth

By Aleta Paresghian

There is a perception in Sonoma County that there are not enough dentists to treat the thousands of low-income kids who rely on Denti-Cal, Medi-Cal’s dental insurance. Private practice dentists have to make the tough decision of either not accepting the insurance altogether, or taking a loss when treating Denti-Cal patients.

With a large number of children in Sonoma County suffering from poor dental care, the county is seeking a blanket “solution” to the problem by proposing the addition of fluoride into the county water supply. But there is a more effective solution that is already in place throughout the county. 

In addition to numerous dental clinics that accept Denti-Cal, which and have been actively expanding their services, there are additional programs that offer FREE dental care and education to children starting as soon as their teeth erupt.

Finding a Solution: Looking Beyond Water Fluoridation

Children’s dental hygiene is a hot topic in Sonoma County these days. A great effort is being made to improve the oral health of our local youth, specifically for low-income families. Organizations like

Rethink Your Drink and First 5 Sonoma County are working hard to educate children and parents on how to make healthier lifestyle choices to guarantee better overall health throughout their lifetime. But the constant dilemma these programs face is getting parents to want to change their own lifestyles for the betterment of their children.

The latest suggestion to help improve dental health is to fluoridate the county’s water supply, with a hope of compensating for the lack of dental care that so many low-income children suffer from in Sonoma County. By forcing every resident using county water to consume fluoride, the goal is to strengthen children’s teeth enough that they will be more resistant to decay caused by poor diet and hygiene. 

But the adverse affects of consuming fluoridated water may outweigh the benefits. Despite the fact that many children aren’t in the habit of drinking tap water in the first place, or that infants shouldn’t consume formula made with fluoridated tap water, the possibility of fluoride being added to our water supply is very real.

Many health professionals, dentists, and local government officials feel that this is the only way to prevent dental decay in at-risk children. Whether it be from lack of parent involvement, lack of insurance, or simply lack of education on dental hygiene, too many children in Sonoma County are going without consistent dental care. Although the county is trying to take responsibility to improve this problem, is force-feeding us all fluoride the right way to go? While there is no doubt that fluoride is beneficial when coated directly onto the teeth, the opposite can be true when too much is ingested through drinking water.

What many people don’t know is that Sonoma County already has a plethora of resources for children in need of dental care, many of which don’t require any effort from the parents. I have compiled a list of local organizations that offer low-cost or free dental care to children of any age. Several of these programs offer clinics at many Sonoma County schools, in which a child can receive a free teeth cleaning, fluoride treatment, and sealants if necessary, right at their school with little more than a signature from a parent. These programs are making it possible for children to improve their own dental health, regardless of circumstance. By providing dental hygiene education in the classroom and basic dental services at no cost, students are not only learning how to better care for their teeth, but are also receiving much needed treatment.

With more funding, these clinics could be offered to every school in Sonoma County, guaranteeing that students in need get free dental care at least once a year. No matter how much fluoride you make a child drink, it will never be as beneficial as teaching the child how to take care of their teeth and empowering them to make healthy eating choices for the rest of their lives.

If you would like to make a donation to some the organizations listed, visit the Community Action Partnership website at


Dental Days at WIC
To reduce the incidence of dental disease in this high risk low-income population, Dental Days at WIC provides preventive and early intervention dental services to children enrolled in the WIC nutrition program. FREE through WIC for uninsured patients, most insurances accepted. Parents are offered a dental care class and follow-up education on how to care for their child’s teeth.
Santa Rosa: 1450 Guerneville Rd.
1st, 3rd, 4th Thurs, 8:30a – 5p
2nd Wed, 3-6p
Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, 19270 Sonoma Hwy.
3rd Tue, 8-4p

Family Justice Center
Each month, the St. Joseph Mobile Dental Van visits the FJC to provide NO COST dental care for children of family violence victims. Visit for details.

Give Kids a Smile
Takes place during the first weekend in February every year. The goal of the program is to provide free dental services to under privileged children in Sonoma County between the ages of 0-18. Over 20 different clinics and dental offices participate in the 2 day event, offering free exams, cleanings, and fluoride treatments. For more info, visit or call Susan Cooper, DDS at 707-544-6911 ext. 1064.

School Smile Program
The program provides dental health assessments, fluoride application, sealant application, and classroom education at a reduced cost for uninsured, most insurances accepted.

SRJC Community Dental Clinic
Dental assisting and dental hygiene students (under supervision) provide dental hygiene care that includes cleaning, x-rays, application of topical fluoride, and dental sealants. Reduced fee schedule.
1501 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa
Call 707-522-2844 to make an appointment

St. Joseph’s Mighty Mouth Dental Health Education
A school-based childrens’ dental program to help prevent dental disease and promote dental health by teaching children to brush, floss, and eat nutritious snacks. Includes school based dental screening,, cleaning and fluoride varnish. (707) 522-1961

SRJC Free School-based Dental Clinic
Sponsored by the Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary, SRJC Dental Assisting and hygiene students perform exams, cleanings and fluoride treatments free of charge at several West County schools. Visit for more info.

St. Joseph Dental Clinic and Mobile Dental Clinic
The clinics serve children ages 0-16, with a targeted effort on children 0-5, special needs’ patients, and prevention and education for pregnant women with our Mommy and Me program. Call (707) 547-2221 for hours of operation, location, and to schedule an appointment.


Some related info re your article in the Gazette “Looking Beyond Water Fluoridation”

There is growing evidence that fluoridating water (ingesting FL) is not effective enough to justify eating poison. 

Please check out these links, and more that you can find.  I took the liberty of copying some of the headlines. 

JADA Study Proves Fluoridation is Money Down the Drain

New York – October 2009 — Children’s cavity rates are similar whether water is fluoridated or not, according to data published in the July 2009 Journal of the American Dental Association by dentist J.V. Kumar of the NY State Health Department (1).   . . . 

Attempting to prove that fluorosed teeth have fewer cavities, Kumar uses 1986-1987 National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) data which, upon analysis, shows that 7- to 17-year-olds have similar cavity rates in their permanent teeth whether their water supply is fluoridated or not (Table 1).

In 1990, using the same NIDR data, Dr. John Yiamouyiannis published equally surprising results in a peer-reviewed journal. He concluded, “No statistically significant differences were found in the decay rates of permanent teeth or the percentages of decay-free children in the F [fluoridated], NF [non-fluoridated], and PF [partially fluoridated] areas.” (2).

“Dr. Kumar’s published data exposes more evidence that fluoridation doesn’t reduce tooth decay,” says attorney Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.

Analysis of Kumar’s data:


1) “The Association Between Enamel Fluorosis and Dental Caries in U.S. Schoolchildren,” Kumar & Iida Journal of the American Dental Association, July 2009 (Table 1)




2) Fluoride: Journal of the International Society for Fluoride Research
April 1990 (Volume 23, Issue 2, Pages 55-67) “Water Fluoridation & Tooth Decay: Results from the 1986-1987 National Survey of US Schoolchildren,” by John A. Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D.

3) Slata Magazine, “The American Way of Dentistry, The Oral Cost Spiral” by June Thomas (September 29, 2009)

4) Fluoridation Statistics: 


Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review of the Physiological Effects of Ingested Fluoride as a Public Health Intervention

Stephen Peckham1,2 and Niyi Awofeso3                     

3. Adverse Impacts of Fluoride Ingestion on Human Health

The classification of fluoride as a pollutant rather than as a nutrient or medicine is a useful starting point for analysing the adverse effect of fluoride. No fluoride deficiency disease has ever been documented for humans. Indeed, the basis for setting an "adequate intake" of fluoride rests on the alleged ability of ingested fluoride to prevent tooth decay. However, since it is now known that the effect of fluoride is topical, the notion of an “adequate daily intake” is flawed.  See

Thanks much,
Len Grosso