Dental community provides free dental care at March 2015 Project Homeless Connect

During the Spring Project Homeless Connect (PHC), the Pierce County Dental Society and Oral Health Coalition members combined talent and services at Puyallup Fairgrounds on March 31, 2015 to provide dental care to community members in need. Participating organizations include Bates and Clover Park Technical College Dental Assisting Schools, Lindquist Dental Clinic for Children, Medical Teams International, Pierce College Dental Hygiene School, and many other private dentists.

The dental section of the event provided $30,234 in donated dental care that included screening 67 individuals and treating 23 in the dental hygiene area. The Medical Teams International dental van, with its volunteer professional dental staff, provided twenty-three patients with additional treatment.  Dental service area volunteers also referred PHC patients for follow up exams and community resources. The Pierce County Dental Society wishes to acknowledge all the oral health volunteers, partners and community resources who worked together to help those in need of dental services. Photos of some of the wonderful dental volunteers are shown below!

Planning for the next Project Homeless Connect is underway for late summer-early Fall 2015. For those interested in volunteering in the dental services area, please contact Cheryl Jenkins at

PCOHC welcomes new officers in 2015

The Pierce County Oral Health Coalition (“PCOHC”) is pleased to announce the following 2015 officer team, elected at the November general coalition meeting:

  • Co-Chairs: Patty Reno and Teri Amundsen, Bates Technical College Dental Assisting School
  • Chair-Elect: Tamara Bout, SeaMar Puyallup Children’s Dental Clinic
  • Treasurer: Cheryl Jenkins, Pierce County Dental Society
  • Secretary: Camile Mason, SeaMar Tacoma Dental Clinic
  • Communications Liaison: Abbe Salk, Lindquist Dental Clinic for Children

PCOHC officers, along with coalition members look forward to a year of oral health collaboration, education and advocacy in Pierce County.

Washington leads nation in access to dental care for low-income children

Washington State has a reason to smile as the nation’s leader in the percentage of babies and preschoolers from low-income families getting dental care.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 54% of Medicaid-eligible young children are receiving oral care in Washington, a rate higher than any other state.  (For more information, see the May 9 story in the Puget Sound Business Journal: A reason to smile: Washington leads nation in access to dental care for low-income kids.)

In Pierce County, the percentage of Medicaid-eligible children accessing dental care has increased steadily since implementation of the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program. The ABCD Program focuses on oral health education and early dental care for children ages 5 and under. In 2012, the percentage of Medicaid-eligible Pierce County children accessing dental care was just over 45%. Data and Medicaid dental reports are available on the Health Care Authority website.

While the above is good news, the challenge and opportunity exist, both State and county-wide, to connect the remaining percentages of Medicaid-eligible kids to dental care at least once a year. As a community, we can help by sharing the following oral health messages:

  • Oral health is an essential component of overall health.
  • Children should have a dental visit by first tooth or first birthday.
  • Dental disease is both preventable and treatable. Early oral health education and intervention are cost-effective health measures, and key to prevention of dental disease.
  • The ABCD program makes dental care possible for low-income children ages 0-5.  Find Pierce County ABCD and dentist referral information here.
  • Pierce County has many dental care providers, including many Pierce County Oral Health Coalition partners, who accept children, ages 0-18 who have WA Apple Health (Medicaid) insurance. Find low cost Pierce County dental providers here.


Free maternal and child oral health publications

The Washington State Oral Health Coalition recently shared that “the contract for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s warehouse will end on June 2, 2014. This news significantly impacts the distribution of materials produced by the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center (OHRC).  Although we hope to maintain limited warehouse and distribution capacity, the future of such service is uncertain.”

Many useful printed oral health materials, including consumer brochures, fact sheets, policy briefs and more are available without charge, to be ordered singly or in bulk.

Those interested are encouraged to order printed OHRC materials as soon as possible using the online order form at  Should you want more copies than the form will allow you to order,  select the limit and indicate the total amount of desired copies in the “Notes” box at the end of the order form.

State-wide program leads country helping low-income children

ABCD LogoKudos to Washington state. The Washington Dental Service Foundation (WDSF) reports the state has been recognized as a national leader in providing preventive dental care to young children from low-income families.

Statewide more than 54 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children under age 6 are currently receiving dental care, according to an announcement on Nov. 21, by the WDSF. The number of children accessing care has increased dramatically in large part because of the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) Program, which was recently expanded to every county in the state.

The ABCD Program has been serving children in Pierce County since 2005. More information about the ABCD Program in Pierce County can be found on the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department web site.