Access to oral health care for Santa Cruz County's low income population is a problem that, until recently, has never been quantified.
The study, Increasing Access to Dental Services for Children and Adults on the Central Coast, measures 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.
Oral Health Access Santa Cruz County has banded together to develop ways to bridge the gaps in access. 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.
Our mission is to improve the oral health of Santa Cruz County by uniting stakeholders and advocating sound, measurable strategies that increase access to care and education.
Dientes Community Dental Care commissioned the first-ever oral health needs assessment of Santa Cruz County to quantify the demand for oral health care and determine how to address it. Barbara Aved Associates, a leading dental healthcare consulting group, was engaged to conduct the study using third-party research, interviews and a survey of the Monterey Bay Dental Society. The resulting report, Increasing Access to Dental Services for Children and Adults on the Central Coast, outlined a need that was much greater than any one organization could tackle and more urgent than most realized.
To respond to the pressing need, Oral Health Access Santa Cruz County was established. This steering committee, of local health industry experts, community leaders, and education advocates, will work to define concrete ways to address one of the county's major hidden health epidemics.