PITTSBURGH, July 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- It's no secret that more and more Americans are being locked out of the oral healthcare system. Just three weeks ago, people were camping out at PPG Paints Arena the night before a Mission of Mercy free dental event for a chance to get treatment for dental disease. For those who weren't fortunate enough to get in, there is no relief in sight. The problem isn't limited to Pennsylvania; news stories abound across the country about Americans using everything from whiskey to pliers to cure their own oral health problems. The Oral Health 2020 National Network believes that is wrong.
As part of the Oral Health 2020 Network, the Pennsylvania Coalition for Oral Health (PCOH) will be joining a grassroots summit of oral health advocates from across the country in Pittsburgh, July 16-18, to discuss solutions to this public health epidemic.
This isn't just a meeting about getting people to brush and floss more—that's only part of the problem. "Good oral health helps keep our whole bodies healthy; the mouth is the beginning of the entire digestive system. We need healthy teeth to speak correctly, chew nutritious food, learn in school, focus on our work, interview for a job, and smile," stated Helen Hawkey, Executive Director of PCOH. "To maintain good oral health, people need secure access to affordable, healthy food. They also need an accessible provider who accepts their insurance and provides affordable, quality care throughout their lives."
As shown at the recent Mission of Mercy events across our state, these things are beyond reach. Like a series of locked doors, without the keys to good oral health, we can keep pushing but the doors stay locked. As a result, our health suffers. Hawkey went on to say, "Throughout our lives, we all need good oral healthcare. When dental care is inaccessible, it can lead to or worsen serious and sometimes life-threatening health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, preterm birth, malnutrition, or even the prolonged detection of cancer."
Hawkey is confident that working together, we can improve oral health for all Pennsylvanians. Along with their statewide grassroots partners ACHIEVA, Put People First! PA, the Berks County Community Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, the coalition works to improve access to quality oral healthcare. To learn more or join the efforts, visit www.paoralhealth.org
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Helen Hawkey, 724-972-7242, [email protected].
SOURCE PA Coalition for Oral Health