Welcome to the State of California 

MCAH Oral Health Program (OHP) Fact Sheet

MO-07-0011 OHP


  • Promote effective oral health practices among parents, childcare providers, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) programs, and primary health care providers. 
  • Expand access to oral health services to children and pregnant women by expanding knowledge of available sources of dental care such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. 
  • Assist local MCAH program staff to identify high-risk populations for oral health diseases.
  • Increase the number of children receiving preventive dental services such as fluoride (toothpaste, fluoride varnish, mouth rinse and other forms of fluoride), dental sealants and xylitol chewing gum. 
  • Increase local capacity to collect data on the MCAH population’s oral health needs.


  • MCAH/OFP and the Dental Health Foundation co-sponsored an oral health needs assessment in 2005 of over 21,000 school children.  Findings were published in February, 2006, in a report entitled “Mommy, It Hurts to Chew – The California Smile Survey – An Oral Health Assessment of California’s Kindergarten and 3rd Grade Children”.  This report confirmed that poor and minority children suffer the most from dental caries. 
  • Other findings were:
    By third grade, over 70% of the children have a history of tooth decay. 
    More than 25 percent of children have untreated tooth decay.
    Some 4% of children sitting in classrooms are actually suffering from dental pain or a tooth abscess.

Program Activities

  • Provide technical assistance to local MCAH programs to help staff include more oral health activities into their programs, policy development and community outreach efforts.
  • Distribute oral health educational updates and conduct presentations to keep State MCAH program staff, MCAH jurisdictions, and other interested groups informed of national, state and local, public and private oral health initiatives, strategies and services.
  • Collaborate with the California Department of Public Health’s Dental Health Workgroup, which addresses the oral health needs of Californians and assists in the coordination of state oral health activities.
  • Update the oral health components in the Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program “Steps to Take” Guidelines, and Child Health and Disability Program’s “How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Babies and Toddlers” brochure.
  • Work with interested programs and agencies to identify innovative strategies to improve the oral health of California’s mothers and children.
  • Collaborate with Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Branch and the California Nutrition Network to produce the pamphlet and poster entitled “Stop the Spread of Tooth Decay” in English and Spanish and distribute to Child Health and Disability Program (CHDP), WIC and MCAH programs, private medical and dental offices, and community clinics around the state.

Who Benefits

  • All California children and their families, but especially low-income families who may suffer most from dental diseases.

Who Provides Services

  • State and local health department staff who incorporate dental health activities into their existing MCAH programs. 
  • To locate assistance in your area, please see our MCAH Directors and Local Toll Free Numbers Listing
  • Oral Health Policy Consultant from UCSF who provides technical assistance to interested local programs.


  • Federal Title V MCH Block Grant Funds.  Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Program administers the Oral Health Program.  Please see the Oral Health Program Page for more information, or contact MCAH.
Last modified on: 10/31/2008 2:44 PM