A $50,000 grant to Washington State SmilePartners from the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation will make possible a pilot program to provide preventive oral health services to low-income pregnant women and mothers with infants and young children. Harrison Medical Center’s Silverdale campus will be the site for the prevention program Mom and Me, Cavity Free.
The program provides the missing link-prevention-between new mothers and pediatric oral disease, the No. 1 chronic childhood disease in America, says SmilePartners Program Director Kate Mills. “Women who have active dental disease after delivery could ultimately pass the germs to their infants, causing early, aggressive cavities that, if not treated, can affect their overall health,” she explains.
Low-income pregnant women, including hundreds in Kitsap County, often have trouble accessing affordable dental care and find it difficult to have their dental needs met during pregnancy. New science shows that cavities are nearly 100 percent preventable when the decay process is interrupted and oral health education begins during pregnancy, Mills says. “Mothers who have healthy mouths during and after pregnancy do not have cavity germs to pass to their children.”
Making good dental health part of prenatal care is another program component. SmilePartners will work with family practice physicians and obstetricians to identify and treat pregnant patients who suffer from dental disease. Self-referrals are welcome.
What: Mom and Me, Cavity Free
When: Every Tuesday, 9 am to 4 pm
Where: Harrison Silverdale, east entrance, Room 21
For: Pregnant women, new moms with their infants and young children
“Harrison is thrilled to team with SmilePartners in this vital program that contributes to the oral and general health of our community,” says RN Barbara Connett, director of Harrison’s Women’s and Children’s Services. “This program will give our most at-risk moms and babies a deserving start.”
Washington State SmilePartners is a Bainbridge Island-based nonprofit organization that provides oral disease prevention services to schools, preschools, seniors and pregnant women and their infants. WSSP accepts Medicaid and private insurance, with reduced fees and a sliding-fee scale based on income. For more information, call 206-909-1365.
To read the community article about Mom and Me, Cavity Free, click here.
About 2,000 babies are born each year at Harrison Silverdale, located at the corner of Myhre Road and Ridgetop Boulevard. To learn more about mother and baby care services at the Silverdale campus, call 360-337-8800 or visit harrisonmedical.org.