Washington Dental Service Foundation

Washington Dental Service Foundation, a non-profit funded by Delta Dental of Washington, is committed to lasting approaches to improving the oral, and overall health, of people in Washington.  With an emphasis on prevention, WDS Foundation works closely with partners to develop and implement long-lasting, innovative programs and public policies. Our partners include business, labor and education groups, children’s and seniors’ organizations, dental and medical providers and state and local agencies.  WDS Foundation analyzes oral health data and trends, shares best practices  provides grant funding and works across the state to advocate for improved oral health.   Educating the public and policymakers about the importance of oral health and how to prevent oral disease is a priority.

We are seeking to prevent oral disease through early intervention in medical settings.  Primary care medical providers can play an essential role in ensuring patients have good oral health and avoid complications to their overall health.  Primary care medical providers are in an ideal position to address oral health because they already address the rest of the body, are focused on prevention, see patients regularly, and make referrals when they identify issues needing further care.

Oral disease is linked to a variety of chronic health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. This presents an opportunity for healthcare systems to improve patient health and reduce the cost of care by addressing their patients’ oral health.  The cost savings are significant:  a recent study found that when people with diabetes whose blood glucose levels were not under control, received periodontal treatment, they realized an average annual cost savings of $3,200 per person. Cost savings have also been shown for patients with other chronic conditions who get dental care.

We are engaging primary care medical providers to transform the care they deliver by incorporating oral health preventive services into their routine patient visits.  This includes training healthcare systems and providing coaching to assess a patient’s risk and identify early signs of oral disease, share tips for practicing good oral health behaviors, apply fluoride varnish, and refer to a dental provider when needed.

Executive Member Since: 
January 2014
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