CHICAGO, November 5, 2014 – Every day 10,000 people retire and only 9.8% do so with a dental benefit. To reshape systems that will impact lifelong oral health and stem the growing crisis facing older Americans when it comes to paying for oral healthcare, the DentaQuest Foundation has awarded Oral Health America (OHA) with a $299,450 grant. This grant will be used to support new initiatives within the Wisdom Tooth Project® (WTP), OHA’s program that changes the lives of older adults through improved access and utilization of care, health literacy and policies that promote oral health equity for especially for those most vulnerable.
“OHA is honored that the DentaQuest Foundation has entrusted us to work on a key Oral Health 2020 strategy – building healthier communities by giving older adults and their caregivers an opportunity to advocate for policies and payment systems that improve their oral and overall health and wellness,” said OHA President and CEO Beth Truett. “The DentaQuest Foundation’s support over the past four years has helped OHA to build capacity to take on the challenge of building a broad coalition focused on reshaping systems to improve the oral health of older adults – especially where disparities exist due to race, ethnicity, income, education and challenges of daily living.”
The new grant will support efforts by OHA to advocate for the inclusion of an adult dental benefit in publicly funded health insurance. This will be done in part by expanding toothwisdom.org -- a first-of-its kind website that connects older adults and their caregivers to affordable dental services and usable oral health information – to also serve as an advocacy tool. OHA will host a symposium in conjunction with the White House Conference on Aging in Summer 2015 and will also release an updated edition of A State of Decay to further raise public awareness regarding gaps in oral healthcare for seniors.
“The DentaQuest Foundation looks forward to working with Oral Health America to create alternative possibilities that will positively impact the oral health of older adults,” commented Ralph Fuccillo, Chief Mission Officer, DentaQuest and President, DentaQuest Foundation. “That possibility is what we can create together in community with OHA -- one of the trusted partners in the Oral Health 2020 initiative.”
To date, the DentaQuest Foundation has invested $800K in OHA’s Wisdom Tooth Project.
To access information and resources about older adults and oral health please visit www.toothwisdom.org and to learn more about all aspects of OHA’s Wisdom Tooth Project, visit www.oralhealthamerica.org/programs