The DentaQuest Foundation has awarded Oral Health America (OHA) a $668,000 grant to expand the Wisdom Tooth Project and increase efforts in advocating for publicly funded dental coverage for older Americans. The national Wisdom Tooth Project educates older adults and their caregivers, connects communities with support and resources to access care, and advocates for the oral health of older adults, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
“Maintaining a healthy mouth is one of the keys to independence as we age because of the vital connection to overall health and well-being,” said Beth Truett, OHA president and CEO. “Thanks to the generosity of the DentaQuest Foundation, OHA stands to gain more widespread support for this important movement by working collaboratively on the national and state levels to bring adult dental benefits to Medicare.”
The DentaQuest Foundation has been supporting OHA’s efforts in older adult oral health since 2010. This grant and partnership will enable OHA to lead and strengthen the oral health and aging network to elevate the relationship between oral health and overall health among legislators, advocacy groups, and consumers, according to the organization.
“Now is the time for alignment and collaborative leadership in the movement to secure oral health coverage for all,” said Michael Monopoli, executive director of the DentaQuest Foundation. “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with OHA in its efforts to mobilize national, state, and community organizations to come together to make dental benefits and improved oral health available to all older adults.”
OHA aims to build the network and infrastructure necessary to move toward the eventual inclusion of an oral health benefit in Medicare. Efforts will focus on the following: aligning key leaders in the network; further developing 3 working groups—policy and procedure, marketing and communications, and politics; and providing a way for states and grassroots organizations to become more involved in the network.