Washington Oral Health Foundation 


The majority of Washington children and adolescents have been affected by dental disease. By the age of 18, over 84 percent of children have experienced dental disease in the form of caries, according to the Washington State Smile Survey, A Children’s Oral Health Assessment Report. The report noted that dental disease is known to: result in pain, disfigurement, speech impairments, low self-esteem, lost school days, and serious nutritional problems; reduce overall health and productivity; and increase health care costs. The vulnerable populations who have lower incomes suffer disproportionately. The National Institute for Dental Research (NIDR) reports that 80 percent of tooth decay is concentrated in 20 percent of children. There is an urgent need for early oral health education to help children develop good oral hygiene and to provide them with health and safety information that can prevent dental disease.

The Washington Oral Health Foundation (WOHF) aims to get education and prevention messaging and materials to youth through school and Boys & Girls Club programs. Other initiatives include participating in Health Fairs across Washington state and educating expecting mothers about dental care planning and opportunities. 

Mission Statement
Improving and enhancing oral health for the people of Washington through education and access to care programs.
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Washington Oral Health Foundation
126 NW Canal St 
(206) 448-1914 

Ruth Abate 
Director of Operations and Community Outreach 


Washington Oral Health Foundation Programs

Boys and Girls Clubs Oral Health Initiative
This WOHF Oral Health Initiative is an ongoing partnership with Washington Boys & Girls Clubs. The goal is to reduce the incidence of dental disease in low-income families by: teaching children and caregivers how to prevent dental disease and its impact on overall health;  by building relationships and reducing the fear factor as families begin to understand and value dentistry; and by facilitating access to care and the potential for dental homes. The Foundation increases access to care for those children who have no resources for dental care and/or no access to dental care due to caregivers’ time and transportation constraints. By providing free education, access to diagnostic and follow-up dental care to children who qualify, and with the Boys & Girls Clubs’ ability to provide encouragement and transportation when needed to help children have a positive dental experience, we hope to change behaviors and decrease the incidence of dental disease.

WOHF Education Resources and Teaching Tools
WOHF turnkey dental education programs are available for use by WSDA members throughout Washington. Materials include, but are not limited to: PowerPoint presentations, the latest educational DVD’s, activity sheets, and interactive teaching tools that include microscopes for classroom use, brushing models, folding table displays, charts, and printed oral health information for all age groups. Foundation staff, volunteers and dental students present to over 10,000 students each year in Washington schools alone.

Give Kids A Smile Month
Each February, the WOHF focuses public attention on the prevention of dental disease and the importance of good oral health, and reports on the events and names of the Washington Dentists and Dental Teams who provide free oral health education, exams and treatment, worth tens of thousands of dollars to underserved children all over the state.

WSDA Outreach
WSDA member dentists volunteer to participate in this reduced-fee program for Seniors, Disabled, and Alzheimer’s Patients who qualify, and provide dental treatment worth thousands of dollars each year to these special needs citizens.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

WOHF Adopt-a-School Initiative
Imagine the pain and frustration of a parent with no resources for dental treatment, with a child who cannot attend school because of pain from dental disease. The Adopt-a-School oral health initiative teams school nurses with local dentists to identify students with emergency dental needs, and then provides free emergency treatment to students who have no resources for access to dental care. More than 800 schools are adopted, and WSDA members across Washington plan to increase that number this coming year. 

At our school programs, we hope to leave each child with tools they can use to maintain their healthy smiles. WOHF needs additional funds to ensure every child presented to (usually 10,000+ per school year) get a hygiene kit to talk home that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.  Each kit costs less than $1.00, and we have a goal of raising $8,000 this year for hygiene kits.


Washington Oral Health Foundation (WOHF) is the charitable education foundation of the Washington State Dental Association (WSDA), and educates children, youth, and adults about oral disease, prevention, home care, tobacco and drug use.

Proven Success
WOHF hopes to change behaviors and decrease the incidence of dental disease through hands-on education. They educate people about oral health issues and disease prevention. They facilitate care delivery by dental personnel and work to improve access to care. The goal is to reduce the incidence of dental disease by using comprehensive oral health education, access to care and a positive dental experience to encourage preventive dental care and to help families understand and value good oral health as it relates to overall health.

Use of Best Practices
They launched an initiative with the Boys and Girls Club of America, which has 107 locations throughout Washington. The goal of the initiative is to reduce the incidence of dental disease in low-income and underserved families by empowering children to assume more personal responsibility for their oral health, helping families understand the impact dental disease has on the entire body, and teaching them how dental disease can be prevented.

WOHF serves the community at large through their Adopt a-School Initiative. Dentists provide free care for children referred by the nurse at the adopted schools. More than 300 volunteer dentists have adopted 880 schools throughout the state, providing emergency care worth thousands of dollars for students with no resources for treatment.

WOHF’s primary partner has been the Boys and Girls Club of America around comprehensive oral health education programs presented quarterly, monthly, or weekly through the Clubs’ Health and Life Skills program component. The Oral Heath Presentations are done by volunteer dentists, University of Washington School of Dentistry students, allied members of the dental team, and WOHF staff. Alongside the presentation WOHF’s participates in the Family Nights activates with the Boys and Girls clubs. The Family Nights are all about putting the mouth in the body, helping parents and their kids to understand dental disease…how it happens, its impact on the entire body, and how to prevent it from happening.

Financial Health
The foundation will continue to decrease expenses and fundraise. Donations dropped slightly from last year. They rely on individual donors and host two annual events.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

There are no recent grants awarded to this organization.


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