Initiative to Improve Oral Health
As the facilitator of the Palm Beach County Oral Health Coalition (PBCOHC) for five years, the Florida Public Health Institute (FPHI) continues to make strides in community partner collaboration by fostering the health and well-being of our children and families. Working with community partners to increase oral health literacy to change public health policy that supports improved oral health care will decrease oral health disparities in Palm Beach County. Prevention is the common sense solution to improving the oral health and well-being of future generations.
Increasing awareness of the prevalence of dental disease and the need to increase care is a primary focus of the PBCOHC and the FPHI. An analysis commissioned by the FPHI and conducted by the Health Council of Southeast Florida found more than 115,000 hospital emergency room visits in 2010 for treatment of conditions considered avoidable with proper preventive and restorative dental care throughout Florida. Total charges exceeded $88 million. The number of children receiving ER dental care has climbed to 15,528 in 2010 from 14,603 in 2008.
Palm Beach County is not immune to these statistics with 199,203 citizens eligible for Medicaid in Palm Beach County only 17.76% utilized dental services in 2011. This could be due to the fact that in 2011 there were only 48 Medicaid dental providers in Palm Beach County. With statistics like these each Medicaid dentist would have to provide services to 4,150 patients to meet the need in Palm Beach County. Dental disease is almost entirely preventable yet tooth decay remains the most common chronic infectious childhood disease. The PBCOHC is working with community partners to advocate change and increase preventive services. The PBCOHC has made great strides working with our community partners in raising awareness of oral health disease as well as providing preventive and restorative services.
- default_titleContinued success through the Palm Beach County Health Department Dental Program providing sealants, organizing the Adopt-A-Mom program and reaching out to local dentist to be and providers in the Save-A-Molar Program.
- default_titlePalm Beach State College provides preventive care to many in the community that do not have a dental home. They see the mothers from the Adopt-A-Mom program and provide services to the Developmentally Disabled population. Most recently the college partnered with the District's School Food Service Department at Poinciana Elementary School’s Health Fair on November 8, 2011.. During the Health Fair 150 children received oral health screenings, fluoride varnish preventive services and oral hygiene care instructions.
- default_titleThe City of Riviera Beach has been a constant partner with the PBCOHC working on preventive initiatives. Through this partnership the coalitions were active participants at their employee wellness health fair sharing oral health literacy and providing resources for care and toothbrushes.
- default_titleThe PBCOHC working with FPHI expanded their social media network with an updated website, increased Facebook members and offered Twitter announcements on oral health care. The goal of social media in oral health care is to provide an online resource for the public and policy makers in Florida to identify new oral health care policies and identify improvements on how Floridian’s can access dental care.
To view these statistics of Palm Beach County Access please visit the Oral Health Florida website.
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The oral health partner advocates policymakers focused on problems in the healthcare delivery system then articulated solutions to make the system fair and accessible to everyone. Making our communities a better place to live because people are more productive!