The Davis Oral Health Project Focuses on Dental Care and Supplies for the Disadvantaged

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by Alan Pryor

Dental decay and related oral diseases are the number one chronic disease in our local population. They primarily affects those without access to regular dental care and oral health supplies ranging from families in crisis and the homeless, to senior citizens, expectant and new mothers, and young children from disadvantaged backgrounds….And the Davis Oral Health Project has decided to do something about it!

A Solution in the Making

The Davis Oral Health Project is a newly formed non-profit corporation devoted solely to helping at risk individuals in the Davis community get the oral health care education, screening, care, and supplies they need to develop and maintain a healthy oral environment. It was formed earlier this year by a group of Davis citizens concerned about the state of oral health amongst Davis most vulnerable citizens.

The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” most definitely applies to oral health. This is why they are focusing their efforts on providing needed services and supplies to at-risk people to empower them to take control of their own dental hygiene before extensive decay and oral diseases set in requiring more expensive intervention later.

Working with many different community groups, focus is now on two near term strategies. Each of these strategies addresses a different but urgent oral health need in the Davis community. The common factor is that implementation and execution of both strategies require some level of financial support and that is where the Davis Oral Health Project hopes to make a difference.

1) Provision of Basic Oral Health Supplies – Amazing as it may seem to many in Davis, there is a large segment of the Davis population that lives below the federal poverty level and does not have access to basic oral health supplies. The Davis Oral Health Project is soliciting funds to purchase or direct in kind donations of toothpastes, toothbrushes, floss, and mouthwash for distribution to the needy in Davis through such the hard-working service organizations in Davis that serve disadvantaged families, youth, seniors and homeless citizens who need help the most.

2) Early Education and Screening – All agree that early intervention in oral health care can pay large dividends later in terms of avoiding more extensive treatment options later. Communicare is a non-profit organization that provides the bulk of health and dental care to the most disadvantaged in our community. One of their most cost-effective programs is the Smile Savers program in which oral hygienists visit pre-school and early grade school children at their schools and perform oral screening exams and topical fluoride treatments as well as instructing the children about proper dental hygiene. Unfortunately, Communicare was forced to discontinue this service to low income students in Davis several years ago due to budgetary constraints. Recently, they have mustered funds to restart the program in two Davis Head Start classes but they need additional funding to continue and to expand this program to elementary school students.

If successful in raising money to fully fund these programs together with planned expansions, the Davis Oral Health Project later hopes to expand the scope of their work to include many other innovative dental health strategies that have been proven to help the least fortunate.

An Impressive, Experienced Local Board of Directors

The following list of dedicated local dentists, public health experts and practitioners, and community activists have joined the Board of Directors to provide expertise and advise the non-profit corporation on strategies and outreach.

Dr. Cynthia Belgum, DDS
Dr. Henry Bennett DDS
Dr. Mark Choi, DDS
Barbara King
Pam Nieberg
Alan Pryor
John Troidl
Barbara West

Fund Raising Kick-off

Dr. Richard Mandelaris, a Davis pediatric dentist, kicked off fundraising with an in-kind donation of 1,000 fluoride varnish treatments valued at $1,500. The fruit-flavored topical treatments were delivered to CommuniCare for their Smile Savers outreach program. A gross of large-sized fluoridated toothpaste was been donated by Board-member Barbara King and delivered to STEAC (Short Term Emergency Aid Committee). Generous cash donations have also been received from Board member Alan Pryor ($1,000) and former Davis School Board Member Marty West ($500).

Please Contribute or Donate

But right now it is up to the community. Please consider making a generous tax deductible contribution to the Davis Oral Health Project to help them meet their goals and commitments to improving oral health in Davis’ most needy residents. They rely completely on volunteers to run the organization so 100% of every dollar you can spare will go directly toward outreach and supporting these and other dental health care programs right here in our own community.

You can mail your contributions to Davis Oral Health Project, 2736 Brentwood Pl. Davis CA 95618 or visit www.davisoralhealthproject.org and click on the <Donate> button on the top or bottom of the page to make an online donation through secure servers. Please give early and generously.

Interested parties can contact Alan Pryor (ozone21@att.net or 916-996-4811) directly if they have any questions or wish for any additional information.

Alan Pryor is President of the Davis Oral Health Project. Davis Oral Health Project is a California 501(c)3 non-profit corporation and contributions are deductible under section 170 of the Code per the advice letter on file from the IRS (copies available on request). Their Federal EIN is 46-5013475, their California Corporation No. is 3645880, and their California Attorney General Registry of Non-Profits No. is CT0207522.

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About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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5 thoughts on “The Davis Oral Health Project Focuses on Dental Care and Supplies for the Disadvantaged”

  1. Tia Will

    I heartily support the efforts of this group to provide improved services to the disadvantaged children of our community. It takes a great deal of effort to put together such a program and all involved deserve our support for their efforts.

    ” Communicare was forced to discontinue this service to low income students in Davis several years ago due to budgetary constraints.”

    This is a concern that I have about this type of non profit approach which will reach only a small portion of the potential at need population. The amount of people that can be reached is necessarily limited by the amount of donations. When there is not a guaranteed stream of funding, what typically occurs to these programs is that their success is dependent upon continuing to receive funds from generous donors. This of course depends upon continuing fund raising efforts and tends to wax and wane with the economy, other perceived community needs, the fund raising efforts of the many, many other groups that are dependent upon donor funds at any point in time and donor fatigue.

    My hope is that this group will prove very successful both in the short and long term. I hope that they will provide ongoing information about the number of people served through this program. While I had been hoping for a more inclusive and extensive public health strategy that would have reached everyone who chose to participate, I am strongly supportive of this group. What they have done is not only to provide a means of helping those in the community whose needs are not being addressed adequately, but have focused a spotlight on the fact that even here in Davis, there is unmet need. Any effort to address this need should be warmly welcomed.
    My thanks to all involved.

  2. Anon

    “The Davis Oral Health Project is a newly formed non-profit corporation devoted solely to helping at risk individuals in the Davis community get the oral health care education, screening, care, and supplies they need to develop and maintain a healthy oral environment. It was formed earlier this year by a group of Davis citizens concerned about the state of oral health amongst Davis most vulnerable citizens.”

    I would argue this group was formed to make sure fluoridation of Davis water does not happen.

  3. Tia Will

    hpierce

    I guess my answer will be obvious given my profession. I would always fully fund health and wellness issues before more what I see as more elective needs. Our strength as a society is dependent upon the health and well being of the individual members of our society.

    To allow children to live with conditions of chronic illness ( dental caries and periodontal disease in this case) which interfere with their school attendance and ability to concentrate and learn, are in my opinion far more deleterious to the well being of our society than are potholes.

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