Our oral health plays a role in everything from the ability to eat our favorite foods to the strength of Colorados economy. For 15 years, Oral Health Colorado (OHCO) has been raising awareness of the importance of oral health, and we wont stop until all Coloradans enjoy a just and equitable oral health care system.
All Coloradans benefit when we all have good oral health. Applying resources to ensure equitable oral health care can:
- Help prevent diabetes, cardiovascular issues and immune system disorders
- Avoid using public funding to address those and other public health problems
- Boost employment, improve productivity and minimize lost working days
- Maintain good mental health for all members of the community
But having good oral health means more than just brushing, flossing and seeing a dentist regularly. For many Coloradans, the road to good oral health is full of obstacles.
Lack of transportation, inadequate access to nutritious food or fluoridated water, language barriers and insufficient health insurance are some of the systemic obstacles many of our neighbors, friends and coworkers face. Age, disability and discrimination based on race, ethnicity or sexual orientation also keep many among us from achieving and maintaining good oral health.
Our mission is to eliminate these hurdles. At OHCO, we create meaningful partnerships with organizations, networks and influencers to clear the path to excellent oral health for all Coloradans.
With our network of partners we have successfully worked to:
- Increase funding and add dental services for children enrolled in CHIP
- Advocate for legislation to improve access to care in remote areas
- Piloted the faith-based African-American Oral Health Curriculum in 2017
- Defeated anti-fluoridation legislation
- Supported $5 million of incentives for dental providers to accept Medicaid
- Initiated Smart Mouths Smart Kids, to increase access for schoolchildren
Our experience in advocacy and public awareness gives us the know how to identify opportunities to level the playing field in oral health care. Ongoing and developing programs include:
- A new partnership with the International Refugee Center of Northern Colorado to provide comprehensive, culturally sensitive oral health education to our states newest residents.
- Revising and revitalizing the Colorado Oral Health Plan for 2018-2023.
- Working to expand the Colorado Older Adult Oral Health Action Plan in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Health Resources and Services Administration.