Monthly Archives: November 2013

State Board of Health endorses seven oral health strategies

The State Board of Health Presented a graphic image of the multiple facets of oral health in a presentation made on Nov. 13, 2013.

The Washington State Board of Health presented a graphic image of the multiple facets of oral health in a presentation made on Nov. 13.

Following nearly two years of planning with state and national oral health experts, the Washington State Board of Health endorsed seven oral health strategies to improve the oral health of state residents. The board endorsed the proposals at its Nov. 13 meeting, following a detailed discussion of the strategies from state oral health experts.

The guidelines provide a foundation to guide the board’s policy development activities and encourage efforts that focus on oral health promotion, prevention, intervention, and treatment.

The board noted in its summary of the strategies that poor oral health is costly to the state and is associated with a range of problems that affect children, adults, and seniors. An estimated 51 million school hours are lost annually by children because of dental health problems, and dental complaints in 2010 were the No. 1 reason why uninsured adults visited the state’s hospital emergency rooms, racking up $36 million in costs over 18 months.

A copy of the seven strategies can be found on the board’s web site. A detailed presentation summarizing the strategies is also published. The strategies call for best-practice and evidence-based efforts focusing on the following areas:

  • Health systems
  • Community water fluoridation
  • Sealant programs
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Oral health literacy
  • Surveillance
  • Work force

Partners in Action at Project Homeless Connect, October 2013

Pierce County Oral Health Coalition members returned to the Tacoma Dome on Oct. 23, 2013, to deliver oral health services to hundreds attending the recent Project Homeless Connect. Coalition members from a variety of Pierce County organizations, as well as individual dentists, volunteered their time to triage dental needs, provide oral health assessments, do cleanings, take X-rays, and offer restorative and  denture work, among other services. The majority of those who received services that day had unmet dental needs, received care to deal with urgent issues, and were referred to community resources for follow-up care as available.

Thank you to all of our oral health Partners in Action for their commitment to make oral health services accessible to all residents of Pierce County, and for volunteering their time and resources to events such as Project Homeless Connect.