Our brightSMILES Dental Partnership promoted children’s oral health and disease prevention from 1999 to 2010.
brightSMILES began as a partnership of Sierra Health Foundation and the Dental Health Foundation, based on a documented need for prevention of dental disease in Northern California. In the first two phases of brightSMILES, with support from The California Endowment, we awarded grants to nonprofit organizations and public agencies to support direct oral health services. In phase three, we shifted our focus to community water fluoridation as the most effective strategy to prevent dental caries across populations, and in phase four returned to a strategy of funding oral health preventive services.
In partnership with the California Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program (CDDPP) and the UC San Francisco School of Restorative Dentistry, in 2007 Sierra Health Foundation awarded more than $1 million to 11 children's oral health programs in Northern California.
School-based oral health programs received three-year grants to provide prevention services, including screenings, sealants, fluoride treatments and oral health education for low-income children in nine counties. With this funding, grantees either expanded an existing CDDPP-funded program to serve additional children or established a new program based on the CDDPP model. During the three years, more than 30,000 children received one or more services. Several of the counties continue to provide children's oral health services.
We also awarded a grant to the Sacramento District Dental Foundation to provide no-cost dental screenings and treatment for low-income children in the Greater Sacramento area through its volunteer-based Smiles for Kids program.
Fluoridation of community water supplies was a focus of the brightSMILES Dental Partnership. We awarded a $250,000 grant to the City of West Sacramento, providing the final funding needed to fluoridate West Sacramento's water. The grant supported the purchase and installation of fluoridation equipment, and supported the first year of operation. Other funding partners included the city, Yolo County, First 5 Yolo and The California Endowment.