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 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.