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Bring on the Brushing!

The Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society Children's Clinic became the newest member of the Smiles Across America® (SAA) family this month with a brush-a-thon event at Pershing Elementary School in Berwyn, IL, on Feb. 6. The event also kicked-off of a partnership between OHA and Dr. Fresh® LLC and its popular Firefly® kids toothbrush brand. The company donated $25,000 and 25,000 Firefly toothbrushes to SAA and helped educate students at Pershing Elementary about the importance of oral health. Click on the image above to view a slideshow from this fun event.

A Movement for Healthy Mouths

Aspen Dental and OHA are embarking on an initiative to improve the mouths of all Americans with the Healthy Mouth Movement, where Aspen Dental teams will open their doors to provide free dental care during events at Aspen Dental clinics. Additionally, to bring this movement directly to people who need care the most, Aspen Dental has outfitted a coach—the “MouthMobile”—with state of the art equipment to bring free care to OHA’s community partners in 15 markets. Dora Fisher, manager of older adult programs, is pictured above with Josephine Mercado, the Executive Director of Hispanic Health Initiatives in Orlando, where Aspen dentists and teams treated 38 patients in high need.

Through this initiative, OHA is also developing educational materials to be delivered at Aspen's events and through aging organizations. Thanks to Aspen for what they are doing to give Americans a healthy mouth, and for more information about oral health resources for older adults, visit

Finding the Fun in a Healthy Mouth

OHA is proud to introduce natural oral and personal care leader Tom's of Maine as the newest supporter of Smiles Across America® (SAA). The company is donating $50,000 to help the program reach even more children in 2014. Additionally, Tom's of Maine is inviting parents to download its "Brushing Fun" coloring book, available for free on Tom's of Maine's website. The coloring book can be personalized with a child's name and offers several fun activities that teach kids about the importance of oral health. With every download, the company will donate 10 tubes of Wicked Cool! toothpaste, which protects kids' teeth without artificial dyes, sweeteners, or flavors, to SAA, up to 200,000 tubes. With just one click, you can support SAA and get a free tool to teach the child in your life the importance of maintaining a natural, healthy smile.

OHA Urges CMS to Support Medicaid Reimbursements for Care

The Pew Children's Dental Campaign recently sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, asking Deputy Administrator Cindy Mann to clarify the "free care rule," which states that Medicaid does not pay for services that are provided to the community free of charge. OHA signed on to this letter, advocating that CMS makes it clear that "covered oral health services provided to Medicaid-enrolled children should be reimbursed even when those same services are provided to other children whose parent or private insurer, if any, may not be billed for the services." For our Smiles Across America® partners across the country who regularly provide services to children covered by Medicaid, this is a very important distinction to make.

Over Halfway to Two Million

In honor of National Children's Dental Health Month, we're focusing on children in February and all year through Smiles Across America® (SAA) and our Seal Two Million campaign. Four years ago, OHA committed to sealing two million teeth for 500,000 children by 2020. Thanks to the dedication of our SAA partners, our corporate supporters, and our donors, we're already over halfway to our goal with 1.1 million teeth sealed. Recognized as a public dentistry best practice, every tooth sealed is another cavity prevented for a child who has limited access to regular dental care. Learn more about Seal Two Million and how you can help us reach our goal five years early.

Click here for a list of donors who gave a gift to Oral Health America between January 15, 2014 and February 20, 2014. If your name should have been included, please contact Brad McLaughlin, Development Director, at or 312-836-9900.

From the President & CEO: For the Greater Good

On February 4, I had the privilege of attending an event hosted by Richard Edelman, President and CEO, Edelman, and creator of the Edelman Trust Barometer Annual Global Survey. The results were of particular interest to OHA, in part because non-governmental organizations were the most trusted institution for the seventh year in a row. Also, trust in business continues to rise since its low point in 2008, with over 80 percent of respondents believing that businesses can watch their bottom line while still doing good work for society. For years OHA has fostered partnerships with companies looking to support oral health in the United States, and now the public seems to recognize more than ever the positive changes that can come from the non-profit and for-profit worlds joining forces. OHA needs committed partners to communicate with all Americans the importance of oral health to overall health and wellness. To read more from the Edelman Trust Barometer, please click here.

Beth Truett
President & CEO

Celebrating Smiles Across Generations

Thank you to everyone who attended OHA's 24th Annual Gala & Benefit at Chicago's historic Palmer House Hotel. In addition to being sold out for the first time in the event's history, we also raised a record amount for our programs that support oral health for all Americans. Keep any eye on OHA's Facebook page for photos from the gala.

Meet Our Newest Team Members

OHA would like you to meet our newest team members, graphic designer Chris Wasko and database associate Jonathan Mayo. Chris has previously done design work for the Law Bulletin Co., Leading Lawyers Magazine, and DenMat and Jonathan has been a temp for OHA in the past and is active in local theater. Welcome!

Give Kids a Smile

OHA board member and Dean of the College of Dentistry at Howard University Leo Rouse hosted the Give Kids a Smile kickoff event at at the university on Feb. 7. According to the American Dental Association, an estimated 350,000 disadvantaged children will receive some type of free health service at 1,500 GKAS events in 2014. OHA is a proud supporter of Give Kids a Smile and serves on the initiative's national advisory council. 

Where is OHA?

OHA staff members will be at the following meetings and conferences across the country. Please find us and say hello!

March 12-14: Aging in America Conference, San Diego

March 15-18: ADEA Annual Session and Exhibition, San Antonio

March 27-29: Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting, Atlanta

April 7-8: U.S. National Oral Health Alliance, St. Louis

Supporting the Next Generation

We're grateful to have two talented interns in our office who are currently assisting us with our advocacy efforts and Smiles Across America. Policy intern Morgan Wolf is a senior at Northwestern University majoring in Social Policy and African Studies and Children and Youth Programs intern Bianca Rogers is currently a senior at The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Health Systems Management. Welcome!

In the News

The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch included OHA in an article about dental coverage for older adults.

The Portland Press Herald featured a letter from OHA President and CEO Beth Truett advocating for a bill that would improve access to care for Maine residents.

Photos from this month's brush-a-thon event in Berwyn, IL, were included in Suburban Life.

Copyright © 2014 Oral Health America All rights reserved.