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Oral Health Program

Give Kids a Smile Annual Event Oral Health Resources/Links


Oral Health Program at Eastern Idaho Public Health

The goal of Eastern Idaho Public Health’s Oral Health Program is to prevent dental disease, provide education, and promote oral health and overall health. Our dental hygienist develops, coordinates, and provides services designed to prevent dental disease and promote overall health.
Tooth decay (cavities) is one of the most common chronic conditions experienced by children in the United States. When a decayed tooth is left untreated, it can lead to extreme pain and infection which can then lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning. It has also been found that children who have poor oral health conditions tend to miss more school and receive lower grades than children who do not.

  • 1 in 5 children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated cavity.
  • 1 in 7 adolescents aged 12 to 19 years have at least one untreated cavity.
  • Children aged 5 to 19 years from low-income families are twice as likely to have cavities when compared with children from higher-income families.

Through obtaining optimal oral hygiene habits, regular dental visits, professionally applied fluoride applications, and dental sealants- cavities can be prevented.

Programs Available





School-Based Dental Sealant Project

before and after


Our dental sealant program provides dental sealants to students across Eastern Idaho. A dental sealant is a thin coating painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars). The sealant protects the chewing surfaces by covering them with a protective shield that stops germs and bacteria from becoming trapped in the grooves of the surface. This helps to prevent cavities for many years. To view a short video on how sealants are placed, click here.

This program is important for reaching children who are more likely to develop cavities and less likely to receive private dental care. It also helps reduce the amount of class hours missed. Parent permission is required.


Fluoride Varnish Clinics

fluoride varnish

Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is painted directly onto the surface of teeth. It helps prevent new cavities from forming and helps stop cavities that have already started. Fluoride varnish attaches to the teeth easily and makes the outer layer (enamel) of teeth harder, helping to prevent cavities. This is also safe and effective for infants and children as it decreases the chance of swallowing. 

Our fluoride varnish clinics provide a dental screening, fluoride varnish application, and dental education to participants. Clinics are held at various elementary schools, WIC clinics, preschools, Head Start programs, daycares, and some community events. Parent permission is required.

Fluoride Varnish Fact Sheet. En Español

Please check back for upcoming fluoride varnish clinics.

Dental Health Education

dental health

Educational materials involve:

  • Dental health and how cavities form
  • Overall Health and how it is linked to dental health
  • Optimal oral hygiene techniques
  • Importance of fluoride.

*Service provided at request and dependent on availability.

parents and caregivers

Information for Parents and Caregivers:                              

  • You can protect your child’s teeth with fluoride.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Help your child brush his/her teeth twice a day.
  • Talk to your pediatrician, family doctor, nurse, or dentist about applying fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.
  • If your drinking water is not fluoridated, ask your dentist, family doctor, or pediatrician about fluoride supplements, such as drops, tablets, or lozenges.
  • Ask your dentist about dental sealants. Sealants protect teeth from decay.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child be seen by a dentist for a dental exam by the age of 1.

*Information found at: https://www.cdc.gov/OralHealth/children_adults/child.htm

Information on Dental Care During Pregnancyhealthy brushing

It is important to maintain dental care during pregnancy, including a routine check-up with your dental provider. It is safe for you and for your unborn baby. Gingivitis is the most common form of gum disease. It causes your gums to swell and bleed. It can also lead to periodontitis, which is a serious infection of the gums and bones. Periodontitis can cause your baby to be born prematurely and too small. Premature babies are more likely to have lifelong health problems and disabilities.

Signs of gum disease include:                                          

  • Bleeding gums.
  • Bad breath.
  • Sores that will not heal.
  • Pain and discomfort when chewing your food.

Please contact your dental health provider if you are experiencing any of these signs. Be sure to let them know you are pregnant and if it is considered a high-risk pregnancy. pregnancy and dentist

You can take care of your smile and help your baby be healthy by:

  • Brushing twice a day.
  • Flossing every day
  • Cut down on sweet drinks and snacks.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Make healthy food choices.
  • Take prenatal vitamins as directed.
  • Quit smoking.
    • For more information on programs through Eastern Idaho Public Health and Project Filter to help you quit, click here.
  • Make a dental appointment.
    • For help on locating a dental professional in your area, call the Idaho CareLine by dialing
    • For more information on Medicaid dental benefits, visit www.mcnaid.net or call 1-855-233-6262.

Looking for Dental Services?

Low Income Individuals
Click on the link below for a list of dental resources in Eastern Idaho as well as statewide.

Medicaid Clients
If you are looking for a dentist who will accept Medicaid, call the Idaho Careline at 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588. You will be referred to a dentist in your area.

For More Information
For more information about the Oral Health Program at Eastern Idaho Public Health, please contact:

Pamela RIch
Oral Health Program Coordinator
Eastern Idaho Public Health
1250 Hollipark Drive
Idaho Falls, ID 83401
E-mail: prich@eiph.idaho.gov

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