HealthLink Dental Clinic has received a mini grant of $2,000 from the PA Coalition for Oral Health to support its “Connecting Oral Health and Overall Health” initiative in Bucks and Montgomery counties. The initiative is focused on screening the A1C level of 220 HealthLink patients over the course of the coming year and determining their risk of developing diabetes.
Funding for the project is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health through Centers for Disease and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant.
Adult dental patients find their diabetes and oral health interconnected. According to the American Diabetes Association, patients with diabetes are three to four times more likely to develop gum disease, gum infections and experience higher than average rates of bone loss than non-diabetic patients. Poor dental care can affect one’s blood glucose levels, eventually bringing the onset and progression of diabetes.
Many low-income working adults who consider themselves “healthy” do not visit their doctor routinely. As a result, they do not get the proper screenings for things like diabetes or high blood pressure. Through its “Connecting Oral Health and Overall Health” program, HealthLink is providing its patients with free screenings and informing them about their overall health based on those screenings.
“Because overall health and wellness is interconnected with oral health, we are proud to offer this free service to further empower our patients and improve their overall wellbeing,” said Raquel Braemer, CFRE, HealthLink’s executive director.
HealthLink’s initiative is part of PCOH’s overarching program to facilitate the implementation of the goals and recommendations of the PA Department of Health’s 2020-2030 PA Oral Health Plan, now in progress.
PCOH serves as a leading voice on improving oral health across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It does this by bringing together community advocates and health professionals to share the best and most innovative approaches and practices available today.
“The integration of medical and dental health is a trend we are following very closely,” said PCOH’s executive director Helen Hawkey. “It is our goal to ‘put the mouth back into the body’ when it comes to healthcare for all Pennsylvanians.”
Visit paoralhealth.org or call 724-972-7242 for more information.
HealthLink Dental Clinic, located at 1775 Street Road, Southampton, is a nonprofit organization that provides free dental services, including oral examinations, X-rays, dental hygiene treatments, extractions, root canals and patient education programs and materials to low-income working adults and military veterans living in Bucks and Montgomery counties. Visit healthlink.org or call 215-364-4247 for more information.