Access to oral health care for Santa Cruz County’s low income population is a problem that, until April 2016, had never been quantified. The study, Increasing Access to Dental Services for Children and Adults on the Central Coast, measured the oral health needs of Santa Cruz County. Findings show a striking under-utilization of care that can impact overall health, employment opportunities, and social connectedness.
The Oral Health Access Santa Cruz County steering committee—composed of community leaders, healthcare practitioners, and education advocates—was established to evaluate the needs assessment and develop a strategic plan to address the crisis in our community by 2020.
The current state of oral health in our county is simply not acceptable. The solution requires dynamic community involvement and is based on the premise: Whether you are a dentist or not, you too can help solve the dental access and oral health challenges of Santa Cruz County.