Dakota County Public Health partners with Children’s Dental Services to provide dental care to children from low-income families. Children's Dental staff provide dental care in the county service centers in Apple Valley and West St. Paul.
Call 612-746-1530 to set up an appointment.
How to prevent tooth decay
Childhood tooth decay, sometimes referred to as cavities or caries, is five times more common than asthma, four times more common than childhood obesity, and 20 times more common than diabetes. Fortunately, tooth decay is easily preventable with a few simple steps.
Starting healthy habits early is a great way to help kids make better decisions for their whole life. The CDC recommends the following practices to prevent cavities:
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between teeth daily with floss
- Eat nutritious and balanced meals
- Limit sugary beverages
- Visit the dentist regularly
Check with your dentist about use of supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth, and about use of dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from decay. If your child is under 5, ask your primary doctor about fluoride varnish at their well child checkup.
First trip to the dentist
It is important to take your child or grandchild to the dentist before their first birthday. As soon as they have teeth, they can get cavities.
The dentist wants to check how your child's teeth and mouth are growing and developing, make sure everything is healthy, and help your child get comfortable. Some things the dentist will do during the first visit:
- Check for oral injuries, cavities or other problems
- Let you know if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay
- Clean your child's teeth and provide tips for daily care
- Discuss teething, pacifier use or finger/thumb sucking habits
- Discuss treatment, if needed, and schedule the next check-up
Services are available for children from birth to age 26 and pregnant women regardless of income. Services include:
- Dental exams
- Teeth cleaning
- Fluoride treatment
Children’s Dental Services accepts all forms of medical assistance and provides services on a sliding fee and free care scale to families that do not have insurance coverage.
Many Children’s Dental Services staff members are multilingual and all are experienced in working with children. The non-profit organization offers dental services in many locations in the Twin Cities.
For additional dental care options, visit the More Low-Cost Services page.