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Oral Health & Dental Services

Oral health is essential to general health and well-being. It affects our ability to eat, speak, smile, and show emotions. Oral health also affects a person’s self-esteem, school performance, and attendance at work or school. Oral diseases - which range from cavities and gum disease to oral cancer - cause pain and disability for millions of Americans.

girl smilingFluoride & Dental Health

Fluoride (said like floor-eyed) has been shown to prevent cavities and tooth decay by strengthening the tooth’s hard outer surface called enamel. It is a is a mineral that occurs naturally in soil, water, and air.  

Ways to get fluoride

  • Drinking tap water: For the past several decades, fluoride has been added to many community water supplies.
  • Using toothpaste and mouth rinse that contains fluoride.
  • Eating certain foods and beverages.
  • Your dentist can apply fluoride varnish or gel

Dental Sealants

Dental Sealant InfographicDental sealants are thin coatings that are put on the molars (back teeth) to prevent cavities (tooth decay) for many years. According to the CDC children aged 6 to 11 years without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than children with sealants.

Sealants can be applied by a dentist, dental hygienist, or other qualified dental professional. 

Learn more about sealants from Dental Sealants FAQs.

Oral Health Services in Erie County 

  • CARES Program: The CARES Program (Counseling, Advocacy, Referral, Education and Service) is a nationally recognized program from the University at Buffalo (UB) that was created to reduce barriers to getting dental care.  This program helps with payment, transportation, family concerns and much more.  For more information, call the UB Dental Program at (716) 262-9750.
  • Dental clinics and services in Erie County
  • Find a dentist tool

Oral Health Dental Education Program

A dental hygienist from the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is currently working with the Buffalo Public Schools and area charter schools to provide dental education to all 2nd graders.  Early education and intervention can prevent cavities and other dental disease.  For more information, please call (716) 858-7277 or email

Oral Health Data 

More Oral Health Information and Resources