Southeastern Idaho Public Health

Oral Health

Happy & Healthy Smiles Oral Health Program

Our mission here at SIPH is “Every day, in every way, empowering & improving health!” The goal of SIPH’s Oral Health Program is to prevent oral health conditions ( tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, etc.) in southeast Idaho through education, school-based programs, and community events. Our dental hygienist develops, coordinates, and provides services designed to prevent dental disease and promotes 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.

Tips to have a Happy & Healthy Smile:

  • Brush 2 times a day for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Clean between teeth daily
  • Avoid sugary foods including soda and juices, and drink plenty of water
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with limited snacks
  • Visit your dentist on a regular basis
  • Ask your child’s dentist to apply dental sealants when appropriate

Good oral health is an important part of overall health. For more healthy teeth tips, visit: MouthHealthy - Oral Health - American Dental Association

Happy and Healthy Smiles

Programs Available
  • Oral Health Education/Presentations: These programs are offered to schools, daycare centers, Head Start facilities, community health fairs, and church, professional, and civic groups. Programs are tailored to grade level and ability, and provided at request and dependent on availability. Educational materials involve:
    • Oral Health and how cavities form, and how to prevent cavities
    • Overall health and how it is linked to oral health
    • Optimal oral hygiene techniques
    • Importance of fluoride.
  • Fluoride Varnish Clinic: Quarterly clinics provide dental screenings, fluoride varnish application, oral health education, and dental referrals if needed.
    • To view current fluoride varnish schedule, click here.
    • To schedule an appointment, call April Sluder at 208-478-6314.
  • School-based Dental Sealant Project: This program provides dental screenings, prophylaxis(cleaning), sealants, and fluoride varnish to students in rural populations who are less likely than other students to receive oral health care from dentists in private practice. Programs are conducted in school settings with oral health professionals using portable equipment. Permission slips are required for children to participate.
  • Long-term Care Facility Screenings: This program offers educational in-services to residents and health care providers, and provides dental and oral cancer screenings. Available to facilities that contract for these services with the health department.
Oral health links
  Oral Health | Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
  Centers for Disease Control-Division of Oral Health
  American Dental Hygienist’s Association
  American Dental Association
  Oral Health (
  Children’s Dental Health Project (
  National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center (
Looking for Dental Services?

Low Income Individuals/Children’s Dental Offices Click here for a list of dental resources in Southeast Idaho

Medicaid Clients If you are looking for a dentist who will accept Medicaid, call the Idaho Careline at 2-1-1 or 1-855-233-6262. You will be referred to a dentist in your area.

Adults age 60 and older GrinWell for You Program is a Free Dental Program for adults age 60 and older by Delta Dental of Idaho. They can receive a one-time gift of $1,850 in free dental coverage to be utilized over a 12 month period. You can use the coverage for services such as:

  • Exams & Fillings
  • Cleanings
  • X-rays
  • Extractions
  • Dentures and partials, including repairs

To see if you qualify, please call Delta Dental at 1-866-894-3563 or call April Sluder at 208-478-6314 to have application sent to you.

Give Kids a Smile Annual Event

Southeastern Idaho Public Health partners with the Idaho State University Dental Hygiene Department & Dental Residency and local dentists on an annual basis to:

  • Provide free, easily accessible dental services to qualifying children ages 2 to 14 years old who DO NOT currently have dental insurance of any kind.
  • Raise awareness of the epidemic of untreated dental disease occurring locally and nationally and create local public and private partnerships to increase access to oral health care to solve this crisis.
The next annual Give Kids A Smile Day will be February 2023, date will be announced at later date.
Give Kids a Smile
Pregnancy and Oral Health
A Healthy Mouth for Mother, a Healthy Start for Baby
  • Untreated gum disease in pregnant women can harm their systemic health and may be linked to low birth weight/preterm births
  • Mothers can unintentionally pass cavity-causing bacteria to newborns, increasing children’s risk for tooth decay
  • Children are more than 3x as likely to have tooth decay if their mothers have high levels of untreated tooth decay.
Ways pregnant women can give their newborns a healthy start:
  • Make and keep regular dental appointments. Getting a dental exam will help pregnant women identify any oral health problems they might have and, if necessary, get appropriate treatment or guidance.
  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least 2x daily. It's especially important to brush your teeth right before you go to bed. Why? The saliva in your mouth helps to combat the decay process. But your mouth produces less saliva at night, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Talk to dentist or doctor about ways to prevent or manage dental problems. Tooth decay is preventable. Even when the decay process has begun, there are ways to prevent it from progressing to the point of forming a cavity. A dentist or doctor can answer your questions.
  • Quit Smoking. If you are interested in quitting smoking/or tobacco products, check these links below.
For more information on pregnancy and oral health:
  Fluoride Varnish: What Parents Need to Know
  Plaque: What it is and how to get rid of it
  Dental Sealants Prevent Cavities
  Idaho Smile Survey 2017
  Idaho Smile Survey 2013
  Idaho Oral Health Action Plan: 2015-2020
  The Burden of Oral Disease in Idaho
Fluoride Supplements/Water Fluoridation

American Dental Association recommends fluoride supplements for infants 6 months or older and children up to 16 years of age when community drinking water is not fluoridated.

Fluoride content of drinking water (well or public supply) in parts per millions (ppm) DAILY DOSAGE 6 months - 3 yrs DAILY DOSAGE Age 3 - 6 years DAILY DOSAGE Age 6 - 16 years
Less than 0.3 ppm 0.25 mg 0.50 mg 1.00 mg
0.3 to 0.6 ppm 0 0.25 mg 0.50 mg
Over 0.6 ppm No Dietary Fluoride Supplement Needed
Recommended Fluoride Dosage (mg/day)

Campaign for Dental Health: Life is Better with TeethCampaign for Dental Health: Life is Better with Teeth

The optimum dietary fluoride level is 1 mg per day. Fluoride consumption greater than 2 mg per day by children during their tooth development years can cause dental fluorosis, resulting in mottled, discolored or pitted permanent teeth. The period from birth to five years is the time when developing teeth are most susceptible to developing fluorosis.

In the past, fluoride supplements were thought to exert their main anti-cavity effect through incorporation into developing tooth structure before eruption. However, compelling evidence exists that fluoride supplements have a great anti-cavity effect on the teeth after they erupt. This results from the topical benefits of the fluoride when it is initially consumed and subsequently from its presence in the saliva and gingival fluids that continually bathe the teeth.