The Mission of the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health is to improve oral health for all Missourians through sound public policy and public awareness. This bold mission will be accomplished through the dedication and hard work of concerned citizens. There are many opportunities to help. One way to help is through committee work. For example, the Coalition Policy Committee recently developed policy goals and action steps to achieve those goals. If you are interested in serving on a committee of the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health or offering your time and talents to assist with specific projects click here.
Coalition members include the Missouri Dental Association, the Missouri Dental Hygienists' Association, the UMKC School of Dentistry, the Missouri Primary Care Association, AT Still University, Area Health Education Centers, Cass County Dental Clinic, Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Central MO Community Action Head Start, the Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri, Ozarks Technical Community College, State Fair Community College, Missouri Dental Assistants Association, the Department of Mental Health, and the Department of Health and Senior Services, as well as Missouri advocates and oral health professionals throughout the state.
Oral diseases are a devastating problem among a significant percentage of Missouri’s residents, affecting their overall health and ability to work and learn. Access to oral health care varies greatly across the state. The need for services has been documented in the 2009 statewide oral health plan. According to the CDC, only 62.6% of Missourians visited a dentist within the previous 12 months. The CDC reported that 56.1% of Missouri children received preventive dental care in 2004, compared to the national average of 58.8%, and only 28.6% of 3rd grade students have one or more sealants on their permanent first molar teeth. Oral disease is increasingly an issue among the state’s elderly, where 44% of skilled nursing facility residents were assessed as having untreated decay, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The Missouri Coalition for Oral Health is supported by the Health Forward Foundation, the REACH Healthcare Foundation, and the DentaQuest Foundation. The Coalition was reorganized in 2011 to support strategic work on policy related to oral health. A new Executive Director, Gary Harbison, was hired.