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  • Education & Access Programs

    Schools K-12

    As an educator, you know firsthand that there is an urgent need for early oral health education. You see students in pain, with nutritional problems, impaired speech, disfigurement, and low self-esteem.


    The results of dental disease are lost school days and lost opportunities to learn.


    Flexibility in Working Together
    Each year, the professional dental community, in partnership with educators, is reaching thousands of children and their families with comprehensive oral health education that can really make a difference. Our programs have built-in flexibility to meet the unique needs and schedules in each school. We understand that class time is precious and your plates are full. We work with you to make it happen.


    Free Programs and Support Materials

    All our programs are free of charge, or subsidized. And, you can download student information and activity sheets to reinforce the information in our presentations and your own dental health units. Links and Resources are provided to take you to additional oral health sites.

    FREE School Programs

    Choosing Tobacco: Is It Worth the Risk?©

    Choosing Tobacco. Is It Worth the Risk?©


    45 - 90 minute anti-tobacco PowerPoint and video presentation that discourages tobacco use and supports the educations objectives of tobacco prevention curricula currently used in Weahington nschools. Classroom presentations, grade-level and full school assemblies available. Age-appropreiate content for 3rd - 12 grade.


    • Pre / Post-Tests and Activity Sheets
    • Interactive Displays and Teaching Models
    • Presented by WOHF Staff, WSDA member dentists, dental hygenists, and dental assistants

    3 - POINT PLAY for Oral Health & Safety©

    3 - POINT PLAY for Oral Health & Safety©


    45 - 50 minute PowerPoint and video presentation teaches children that good oral health is necessary to have a healthy body, and how to prevent dental disease and injuries to the mouth with good oral hygiene, nutrition, preventive dental treatment, mouthguard safety, and by staying away from tobacco and other drugs. Classroom presentations, grade-level assemblies, and school-wide health fairs provide comprehensive oral health education and its relationship to overall good health. Age-appropriate materials for K-12.


    • Pre / Post-Tests and Activity Sheets
    • Interactive Teaching Models, Displays, and Demonstrations
    • Oral Hygiene Kits for participants in Title 1 Schools
    • Presented by WOHF Staff, WSDA member dentists, dental hygenists, and dental assistants

    Open Wide & Look Inside©

    Open Wide & Look Inside©


    30 - 50 minute PowerPoint / video / online classroom or assembly presentation that examines the environment of the mouth and answers specific questions about primary and permanent teeth, saliva, types of bacteria in the mouth, and the roles each play in our ability to talk, to eat, and to maintain a healthy body. May also include information re: mouth / tongue piercing, cold sores, changes in the appearance of the tongue, and other benign but puzzling conditions that are seen in the mouth. Age-appropriate materials for K-12.


    • Pre / Post-Tests and Activity Sheets
    • Interactive Teaching Models, Displays, and Demonstrations
    • Oral Hygiene Kits for participants in Title 1 Schools
    • Presented by WOHF Staff, WSDA member dentists, dental hygenists, and dental assistants

    Rolling the Dice.....Tobacco & Other Drugs©

    Rolling the Dice.....Tobacco & Other Drugs©


    45 - 90 minute PowerPoint and video presentation takes a graphic and in-depth look at the dangers and oral consequences of using tobacco or other drugs. Available in classroom, grade-level or full assembly formats, this program provides a look inside the manufacture and marketing of tobacco and meth, examines the oral effects of use, the reasons for experiemntation with drugs, and recovery from addiction. Age-appropriate materials for 6th-12th grade.


    • Pre / Post-Tests and Activity Sheets
    • Interactive Teaching Models, Displays, and Demonstrations
    • Presented by WOHF Staff, WSDA member dentists, dental hygenists, and dental assistants

    Careers In Dentistry

    Learn about career opportunities in dentistry by exploring the American Dental Association website. You can also find out about careers in dentistry on the LifeWorks® website.


    Dental Assistant


    Perform a variety of patient care, office and laboratory duties. They assist dentists, set up patients and equipment, and keep records.

    Learn more...


    Dental Hygienist


    Clean teeth and examine mouth, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on dental hygiene, take and develop x-rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.

    Learn more...


    Dental Laboratory Technician


    Construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.

    Learn more...




    Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums and related oral structures. Also, may treat diseases of nerves, pulp, and other dental tissues.

    Learn more...


    Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon


    Oral and maxillofacial surgeons do all kinds of surgery involving the mouth, teeth, jaws and face. They reconstruct faces shattered by car accidents and gunshots, remove tumors and cancerous lesions, correct bites by surgically repositioning the jaws, place dental implants, repair cleft palates, perform all kindsof facial cosmetic surgery, and extract impacted wisdom teeth.

    Learn more...




    Examine, diagnose, and treat dental and mouth problems. Design and make appliances that realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.

    Learn more...


    Subsidized School Programs

    Rick Bender Anti-Tobacco Assemblies

    Rick Bender, Oral Cancer Survivor


    Today, Rick Bender travels to schools throughout America sharing the story of his devastating battle with cancer caused by chewing tobacco.

    Major League Baseball and state and local health departments are just a few of the organizations Rick works with to help deliver an anti-spit tobacco message intended to save lives. In addition to sharing his story with professional baseball players at Major League Baseball spring training camps, Bender presents school assemblies each year to thousands of students from Alaska to Florida. “If I can keep one student from each school from becoming addicted to tobacco and going through what I have, it will have been worth it,” says Rick.



    Click image above to hear Rick Bender


    “I started chewing tobacco when I was twelve years old. At 26, I was diagnosed with oral cancer and lost half my jaw and part of my tongue. I’m lucky to be alive, and want to warn as many people as possible about the dangers of using tobacco.”


    Appearances on Nickelodeon, the Today Show, Nightline, and
    numerous national and local newscasts have helped Rick reach millions with the message that spit tobacco kills. “The tobacco companies call chewing tobacco smokeless because it makes it sound harmless. I call it spit tobacco and let people know that it can kill you,” says Bender.

    Rick Bender is a National Advisory Board member of Oral Health America’s National Spit Tobacco Education Program and has worked with the Surgeon General’s Office and the National Cancer Institute. Rick knows how to talk to kids about tobacco. They listen. WOHF underwrites assemblies to ensure that he gets to talk to as many Washington kids as possible.


    To learn more about scheduling an assembly for your school, contact the Foundation office at your earliest convenience.
    Rick’s assembly schedule fills in quickly.

    Tools & Resources

    Printable Pages

    Dental Facts and Quizzes
    Parts of a Tooth (PDF)
    Parts of the Tooth Quiz (PDF)


    Program Information
    "Choosing Tobacco: Is it Worth the Risk?" (PDF)


    Small Posters
    Brush at Bedtime(PDF)
    Good Oral Health(PDF)
    Losing a Tooth(PDF)


    A knocked out tooth often can be saved when the person knows what to do immediately following the accident.


    Saving a Knocked Out Tooth


    American Dental Association

    Resources for Teachers




    Updated 2009-10-14 11:43:49

    Pre-K & Head Start


    Content coming ...

    Updated 2009-07-10 05:15:56

    Adults & Seniors

    Older Americans make up a growing percentage of the U.S. population; according to the 2000 U.S. Census nearly 35 million are 65 years or older. By 2050, that number is expected to increase to 48 million. Oral diseases and conditions are common among these Americans who grew up without the benefit of community water fluoridation and other fluoride products.


    Source: 2003 – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Dental Insurance

    Many older Americans do not have dental insurance. Often these benefits are lost when they retire. The situation may be worse for older women, who generally have lower incomes and may never have had dental insurance. Medicare, which provides health insurance for people over age 65 and certain people with disabilities, was not designed to provide routine dental care.


    About 30 percent of adults 65 years old and older no longer have any natural teeth. Having missing teeth can affect nutrition, since people without teeth often prefer soft, easily chewed foods. Because dentures are not as efficient in chewing performance as natural teeth, denture wearers also may choose soft diets and avoid fresh fruits and vegetables.


    Oral Cancer

    Oral and pharyngeal cancers, which are diagnosed in some 30,000 Americans each year, result in 8,000 deaths each year. These cancers are primarily diagnosed in the elderly. Prognosis is poor. The five-year survival rate for white patients is 56 percent and for African American patients is only 34 percent.


    Most older Americans take both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Over 400 commonly used medications can be the cause of a dry mouth. Reduction of salivary flow increases the risk for oral disease since saliva contains antimicrobial components as well as minerals that help rebuild tooth enamel attacked by decay-causing bacteria. Individuals in long-term care facilities - about 5 percent of the elderly - take an average of eight drugs each day.


    Painful conditions that affect facial nerves are more common among the elderly and can be severely debilitating. These conditions can affect mood, sleep, and oral-motor functions such as chewing and swallowing. Neurological diseases associated with age, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, and stroke also affect oral sensory and motor functions, in addition to limiting the ability to care for oneself.


    Maintaining Oral Health

    Drink fluoridated water and use fluoride toothpaste.
    Fluoride provides protection against dental decay at all ages.


    Practice good oral hygiene.

    Careful tooth brushing and flossing to reduce dental plaque can help prevent periodontal disease.


    Get professional oral health care.  Even if you have no natural teeth, professional care helps to maintain the overall health of the teeth and mouth, and provides for early detection of pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions.


    Avoid tobacco.

    In addition to the general health risks posed by tobacco use, smokers have seven times the risk of developing periodontal disease compared to non-smokers. Tobacco used in any form - cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless (spit) tobacco - increases the risk for periodontal disease, oral and throat cancers, and oral fungal infection (candidiasis). Spit tobacco containing sugar also increases the risk of dental decay.


    Limit alcohol.

    Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for oral and throat cancers. Alcohol and tobacco used together are the primary risk factors for these cancers.


    Dental care before cancer treatment .

    Make sure that you or your loved one gets dental care prior to undergoing cancer chemotherapy or radiation to the head or neck. These therapies can damage or destroy oral tissues and can result in severe mucosal inflammation and ulcers, loss of salivary function, rampant decay, and destruction of bone.


    Oral hygiene for elders is important.

    Caregivers should attend to the daily oral hygiene procedures of elders who are unable to perform these activities independently.
    Sudden changes in taste and smell should not be considered signs of aging but should be an alert to seek professional care.


    Burning Mouth Syndrome

    Burning Mouth Syndrome


    Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a painful, complex condition often described as a scalding feeling in the mouth. In addition to pain, dry mouth and a bitter taste may accompany the burning sensation. Symptoms typically worsen throughout the day and into the evening, often subsiding overnight. Although the condition occurs more frequently in women, anyone can be affected.

    For many people, the exact cause - or causes - of their burning mouth is elusive. BMS has been associated with a number of conditions, such as hormonal imbalances, nerve damage, irritating dentures, or nutritional deficiencies, but their relationship is not clear. Treatment is tailored to the specific needs of each patient and focuses on the underlying cause(s) of burning mouth if it can be identified, or on the painful symptoms to try to alleviate the discomfort of BMS.




    Periodontal Disease and Cavities

    Periodontal (gum) disease or dental decay (cavities) most often cause tooth loss. Older Americans continue to experience dental decay on the crowns of teeth (coronal caries) and on tooth roots (because of gum recession).


    Severity of periodontal (gum) disease increases with age. About 23 percent of 65- to 74-year-olds have severe disease, which is measured by 6mm loss of attachment of the tooth to the adjacent gum tissue. At all ages men are more likely than women to have more severe disease. At all ages, people at the lowest socioeconomic level have the most severe periodontal disease.





    People who have diabetes know the disease can harm the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body. Did you know diabetes can also cause problems in your mouth?

    People with diabetes are at special risk for periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. Periodontal disease can lead to painful chewing difficulties and even tooth loss. Dry mouth, often a symptom of undetected diabetes, can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Smoking makes these problems worse.


    What can I do?


    Good blood glucose control is the key to controlling and preventing mouth problems. People with poor blood glucose control get gum disease more often and more severely than people whose diabetes is well controlled. Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental check-ups and good blood glucose control are the best defense against the oral complications of diabetes.


    To learn more about diabetes and oral health, please see: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/complications_teeth/teeth.pdf



    Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

    Dry Mouth


    Dry mouth, also called xerostomia (ZEER-oh-STOH-mee-ah), is the condition of not having enough saliva, or spit, to keep the mouth wet.  Dry mouth can happen to anyone occasionally-for example, when nervous or stressed.  However, when dry mouth persists, it can make chewing, eating, swallowing and even talking difficult.  Dry mouth also increases the risk for tooth decay because saliva helps keep harmful germs that cause cavities and other oral infections in check.



    Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands that make saliva don't work properly.  Many over-the-counter and prescription medicines, as well as diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Sjogren's syndrome, can affect the salivary glands.  Other causes of dry mouth include certain cancer treatments and damage to the glands' nerve system.  It's important to see your dentist or physician to find out why your mouth is dry.


    To learn more about Dry mouth, please see:  http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/NR/rdonlyres/A22079A5-8C4C-4E6D-80C1-D6A1D2EB07F8/0/DryMouth.pdf


    Periodontal Disease

    Periodontal Disease


    Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place.  It's typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque-a sticky film of bacteria-to build up on the teeth and harden.  In advanced stages, periodontal disease can lead to sore, bleeding gums; painful chewing problems; and even tooth loss.

    There are a number of risk factors for gum disease, but smoking is the most significant.  In fact, smoking can even jeopardize the success of treatment.  Depending on the extent of the gum disease, treatments can range from professional deep cleaning and medications to surgery.  While periodontal disease can be treated, more importantly, it can be prevented.  Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental check-ups, and quitting tobacco use are the best defense against periodontal disease.


    To learn more about periodontal disease, please see:  http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/NR/rdonlyres/7B7D24C2-02E5-47C8-B076-27CB580FAF82/0/PeriodontalGum_Eng.pdf

    Diabetes and Oral Health

    Diabetes and Oral Health 


    How Does Diabetes Affect the Mouth?

    People who have diabetes know the disease can harm the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body. Did you know diabetes can also cause problems in your mouth?


    People with diabetes are at special risk for periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. Periodontal disease can lead to painful chewing difficulties and even tooth loss. Dry mouth, often a symptom of undetected diabetes, can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Smoking makes these problems worse.


    What can I do?

    Good blood glucose control is key to controlling and preventing mouth problems. People with poor blood glucose control get gum disease more often and more severely than people whose diabetes is well controlled. Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental check-ups and good blood glucose control are the best defense against the oral complications of diabetes.


    Diabetes can cause serious problems in your mouth. You can do something about it.

    If you have diabetes, make sure you take care of your mouth. People with diabetes are at risk for mouth infections, especially periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease can damage the gum and bone that hold your teeth in place and may lead to painful chewing problems. Some people with serious gum disease lose their teeth. Periodontal disease may also make it hard to control your blood glucose (blood sugar).


    Other problems diabetes can cause are dry mouth and a fungal infection called thrush. Dry mouth happens when you do not have enough saliva-the fluid that keeps your mouth wet. Diabetes may also cause the glucose level in your saliva to increase. Together, these problems may lead to thrush, which causes painful white patches in your mouth.


    You can keep your teeth and gums healthy. By controlling your blood glucose, brushing and flossing everyday, and visiting a dentist regularly, you can help prevent periodontal disease. If your diabetes is not under control, you are more likely to develop problems in your mouth.


    Take steps to keep your mouth healthy. Call your dentist when you notice a problem.


    If you have diabetes, follow these steps:

    • Control your blood glucose.
    • Brush and floss every day.
    • Visit your dentist regularly. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes.
    • Tell your dentist if your dentures (false teeth) do not fit right, or if your gums are sore.
    • Quit smoking. Smoking makes gum disease worse. Your physician or dentist can help you quit.

    Take time to check your mouth regularly for any problems. Sometimes people notice that their gums bleed when they brush and floss. Others notice dryness, soreness, white patches, or a bad taste in the mouth. All of these are reasons to visit your dentist.   Remember, good blood glucose control can help prevent mouth problems.


    What are diabetes problems?

     Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause diabetes problems. This high blood glucose, also called blood sugar, can damage many parts of the body, such as the heart, blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys. Heart and blood vessel disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes. You can do a lot to prevent or slow down diabetes problems.


     Drawing of teeth, gums, and a single tooth. One part of the drawing is labeled to show teeth and gums. Another part of the drawing is labeled to show a cross-section of a tooth and the gum.


    High blood glucose can cause tooth and gum problems. This information is about the tooth and gum problems caused by diabetes. You will learn what you can do each day and during each year to stay healthy and prevent diabetes problems.



     What should I do each day to stay healthy with diabetes?




    Drawing of a bowl containing bananas, grapes, and an apple.

    Follow the healthy eating plan that you and your doctor or dietitian have worked out.

    Drawing of a silhouette of a woman who is walking.

    Be active a total of 30 minutes most days. Ask your doctor what activities are best for you.

    Drawing of an open pill container on its side with some pills spilling out and an insulin bottle

    Take your medicines as directed.

    Drawing of hand holding a blood glucose meter that reads 114.

    Check your blood glucose every day. Each time you check your blood glucose, write the number in your record book.

    Drawing of two hands holding a bare foot.

    Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or sore toenails.

    Drawing of a toothbrush and a container of floss with some floss hanging out.

    Brush and floss your teeth every day.

    Drawing of two arms with a blood pressure cuff around one arm.

    Control your blood pressure and cholesterol.

    Drawing of a lit cigarette in a circle covered by a slash sign to show smoking is not allowed.

    Don't smoke.


    How can diabetes hurt my teeth and gums?


            Tooth and gum problems can happen to anyone. A sticky film full of germs, called plaque, builds up on your teeth. High blood glucose helps germs, also called bacteria, grow. Then you can get red, sore, and swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth.


            People with diabetes can have tooth and gum problems more often if their blood glucose stays high. High blood glucose can make tooth and gum problems worse. You can even lose your teeth.


            Smoking makes it more likely for you to get a bad case of gum disease, especially if you have diabetes and are age 45 or older.


            Red, sore, and bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease. These problems can lead to periodontitis.  Periodontitis is an infection in the gums and the bone that holds the teeth in place. If the infection gets worse, your gums may pull away from your teeth, making your teeth look long.


     Drawing of a man holding his mouth open with his fingers and looking in a mirror to check his teeth and gums for signs of problems.

     Check your teeth and gums for signs of problems from diabetes.



         How do I know if I have damage to my teeth and gums?


            If you have one or more of these problems, you may have tooth and gum damage from diabetes:

    • red, sore, swollen gums
    • bleeding gums
    • gums pulling away from your teeth so your teeth look long
    • loose or sensitive teeth
    • bad breath
    • a bite that feels different
    • dentures-false teeth-that do not fit well



    Drawing of a mouth with the teeth and gums labeled


    How can I keep my teeth and gums healthy?

    • Keep your blood glucose as close to normal as possible.
    • Use dental floss at least once a day. Flossing helps prevent the buildup of plaque on your teeth. Plaque can harden and grow under your gums and cause problems. Using a sawing motion, gently bring the floss between the teeth, scraping from bottom to top several times.
    • Brush your teeth after each meal and snack. Use a soft toothbrush. Turn the bristles against the gum line and brush gently. Use small, circular motions. Brush the front, back, and top of each tooth.

    Drawing showing a woman's mouth as she flosses her lower front teeth.
    Brush and floss your teeth every day.

    • If you wear false teeth, keep them clean.
    • Call your dentist right away if you have problems with your teeth and gums.
    • Call your dentist if you have red, sore, or bleeding gums; gums that are pulling away from your teeth; a sore tooth that could be infected; or soreness from your dentures.
    • Get your teeth cleaned and your gums checked by your dentist twice a year.
    • If your dentist tells you about a problem, take care of it right away.
    • Be sure your dentist knows that you have diabetes.
    • If you smoke, talk with your doctor about ways to quit smoking.

    Drawing of a container of dental floss, a tube of toothpaste, and a toothbrush.


    How can my dentist take care of my teeth and gums?


    Your dentist can help you take care of your teeth and gums by

    • cleaning and checking your teeth twice a year
    • helping you learn the best way to brush and floss your teeth
    • telling you if you have problems with your teeth or gums and what to do about them
    • making sure your false teeth fit well

    Drawing of a dentist examining a patient's teeth. The male patient is reclining in an exam chair and has his mouth open. The female dentist is wearing a lab coat and a mask over her nose and mouth and is looking into the patient's mouth.


    Get your teeth cleaned and checked twice a year.


    Plan ahead. You may be taking a diabetes medicine that can cause low blood glucose, also called hypoglycemia. Talk with your doctor and dentist before the visit about the best way to take care of your blood glucose during the dental work. You may need to bring some diabetes medicine and food with you to the dentist's office.


     If your mouth is sore after the dental work, you might not be able to eat or chew for several hours or days. For guidance on how to adjust your normal routine while your mouth is healing, ask your doctor

               -- what foods and drinks you should have
               -- how you should change your diabetes medicines
               -- how often you should check your blood glucose


     Pronunciation Guide

    hypoglycemia (HY-poh-gly-SEE-mee-uh)
    periodontitis (PAIR-ee-oh-don-TY-tiss)
    plaque (plak)


    For More Information


     Diabetes Teachers (nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and other health professionals)

    To find a diabetes teacher near you, call the American Association of Diabetes Educators toll-free at 1-800-TEAMUP4 (832-6874), or look on the Internet at www.diabeteseducator.org and click on "Find a Diabetes Educator."



     To find a dietitian near you, call the American Dietetic Association toll-free at 1-800-877-1600, or look on the Internet at www.eatright.org and click on "Find a Nutrition Professional."



     The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is part of the National Institutes of Health. To learn more about tooth and gum problems, write or call the NIDCR's information clearinghouse, the National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse (NOHIC), at 1 NOHIC Way, Bethesda, MD 20892-3500, 301-402-7364; or see www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/OralHealthInformation

    Updated 2009-07-10 06:18:14

    Community Organizations

    Boys' and Girls' Clubs Oral Health Initiative

    Content coming ...

    Green Halloween

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    Dairy Farmers of Washington

    Content coming ...

    Updated 2009-07-10 06:41:11

    Health & Faith Communities

    Content coming!

    Clinics & Hospitals

    Content coming ...

    Centers of Worship

    Content coming ...

    Updated 2009-06-30 03:27:02

    Business & Industry

    Content coming!

    Updated 2009-06-30 03:25:37