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Delta Dental Community Care Foundation expands its Senior Oral Health Coalition Program with two new health care partners

Senior oral health
Delta Dental Community Care Foundation team with representatives from Dientes Community Dental Care and Salud Para La Gente in Oakland, CA.

California-based health care providers, Dientes Community Dental Care and Salud Para La Gente, are the newest members of the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation's Senior Oral Health Coalition Program. They join inaugural Washington, D.C. coalition members, Howard University College of Dentistry and Mary's Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center. The program aims to address the oral health crisis among older adults in the U.S. by promoting the connection between oral health and overall health, improving access and creating greater equity in the care and treatment older adults receive.

Why are we prioritizing senior oral health?

  • The 2021 National Institutes of Health “Oral Health in America” report cited adults aged 65 and older as the most critically underserved for oral health care in the U.S.
  • A survey commissioned by Delta Dental further underscores this health crisis, revealing that 80 percent of older American adults do not get to the dentist as often as recommended, with access being one of the main barriers.
  • The number is even lower in Santa Cruz County, California, which Dientes and Salud serve, where a 2022 oral health needs assessment revealed that only one in four seniors with Medicaid were able to get the dental care they needed.

Senior Oral Health Report of Older Americans.  80 percent Don't go to the dentist as often as recommended.  72 percent Wish they had taken better care of their teeth when they were younger.  34 percent Say the last time they went to the dentist was more than two years ago.  40 percent Smile less than when they were younger due to the appearance of their teeth.

The addition of Dientes and Salud will help establish transformative programs that focus on improving health equity and the oral health of older adults, particularly for underserved or vulnerable populations, including BIPOC and Latinx.

Why we’re building a coalition of partners to address the senior oral health crisis

  1. To improve the quality of life for seniors by reducing oral care disparities.
  2. To identify, assess and address the socioeconomic and systemic causes of poor oral health among older adults, particularly those living in poverty.
  3. Inspire lasting change by creating a model for community-driven oral health solutions.

How our partners increase access and equity

As our partners provide oral health care to the seniors in their communities, they collect data on patient pathology, treatment, barriers to access and social determinants of health. The information will be used to identify effective interventions and inform the Delta Dental Senior Oral Health Care Model, which will be replicated as the program develops.

How we’ve impacted our communities

The Community Care Foundation's Senior Oral Health Coalition Program has already had a profound and positive impact on the lives and health of many underserved older adults in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Since the launch of the inaugural Senior Oral Health Coalition in Washington, D.C. in 2022, Howard University College of Dentistry and Mary’s Center have collectively provided nearly 900 older adults with affordable, high-quality oral health care services and managed more than 4,250 dental treatment encounters, including 532 restorative procedures and 207 oral surgeries, and supplied 133 sets of prosthodontics.

In the next three to five years, we look forward to a brighter future where all seniors can live their lives to the fullest, with healthy smiles and improved overall health. Stay tuned for more updates as we work together toward this vision of making a meaningful impact in the lives of those who need it most.

If you would like to learn more, read our full press release  here.

Read our full press release in Spanish  here.