Virginia Oral Health Coalition

Excellent Oral Health for ALL Virginians

In This Issue
Send Us Your Feedback!
Webinar: Oral Health Care During Pregnancy
VA Initiatives Collaborate to Improve Children's Access to Dental Services
Community Water Fluoridation
Of Interest
Send Us Your Feedback!
Teeth The Coalition's Legislative Committee is currently drafting our legislative agenda for the upcoming 2014 Legislative Session
If you have any input regarding legislative priorities that will increase access to dental services, please contact Sarah Bedard Holland at 804.269.8721 or
Thank you for your feedback!
Webinar: Working Together to Promote Oral Health Care During Pregnancy
The American Academy of Pediatrics will host a free webinar on Monday, June 3 at 1pm EST to discuss the importance of collaboration among health professionals to ensure that the oral health needs of pregnant women are met.



Read about the Coalition's accomplishments


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May 2013 Bulletin

Virginia Initiatives Collaborate to Improve Children's Access to Dental Services


Virginia's Medicaid dental benefit provides comprehensive coverage for children, including a dental visit by age one, as recommended by the ADA, AAPD and AAP.  Despite this, only half of all Medicaid-enrolled children visit the dentist annually.  The number is even lower - less than 25 percent - for children under three.


To address this issue, stakeholders from throughout the state are working collaboratively to implement strategies to increase the number of children receiving dental services. 


Of note, Smiles for Children (Virginia's Medicaid dental benefit program) recently submitted an action plan to the federal Medicaid office that includes strategies to improve oral health care for all Virginia children, like reducing broken appointments and recruiting new providers.  The plan aims to increase utilization of dental services among Medicaid-enrolled children by 10 percentage points - a goal that, if met, will bring Virginia's utilization rate well above the national average.


The plan's early childhood component is met by the Coalition's early dental home action team - a subgroup of the Coalition's medical and dental collaboration initiative that is specially focused on increasing utilization among children ages 0-3 by promoting fluoride varnish application, encouraging dental referrals, educating consumers and linking providers across disciplines.  The action team is comprised of dental professionals, early childhood educators, primary care providers and representatives from Smiles for Children.


To support these efforts, Virginia is one of seven states that has been selected to participate in a Medicaid Oral Health Learning Collaborative launched by the Center for Health Care Strategies with support from the DentaQuest Foundation.


If you would like to participate in or know more about the Coalition's activities, please contact Katherine Libby, program manager, at 804.269.8723 or


Read the news release about the Medicaid Oral Health Learning Collaborative


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Community Water Fluoridation: Surgeon General Says Yes, Yet Portland Says No


Dr. Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General, joined many of her predecessors in officially endorsing community water fluoridation as an effective public health strategy.  In a letter read at the National Oral Health Conference last month, Dr. Benjamin referred to water fluoridation as "one of the most effective choices communities can make to prevent health problems while actually improving the oral health of their citizens."


Water GlassIn related news, Portlanders voted this week against community water fluoridation, leaving the city's 900,000 residents at an increased risk for tooth decay.  Half of all first through third graders in Portland have tooth decay, and Oregon ranks 48th among states in access to fluoridated water.  



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Of Interest


Oral Health and Overall Health


Smile CircleOral health and overall health are fundamentally intertwined. The following links present current information on how oral health is connected to overall health well-being.   




VCU's Inter Health Professional Alliance Honored


VCU's Inter Health Professional Alliance (IHPA) was recently honored by the University and the Council for Community Engagement for its student-led initiative.


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