On August 13, 2015

Ottauquechee Health Foundation pilots mobile preventive dental care to seniors

By Dorothy Bergin, New England Rural Health Round Table

Sherry Thornburg, executive director for the Ottauquechee Health Foundation in Woodstock, has an exciting new dental program underway that sends a licensed dental hygienist to where the people in need are—in this case, the Bugbee Senior Center in White River Junction and the Thompson Senior Center in Woodstock. The focus is on prevention and early identification of needs, all with the aim of catching seniors’ oral health problems before they escalate to the level of an emergency room visit.

The program is open to Upper Valley residents age 65 and older and is made possible with funding from the Ottauquechee Health Foundation in partnership with the Vermont Oral Health Coalition, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Community Health, and Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital Community Health.

Thornburg and colleagues from the above organizations brainstormed the idea of a “preventive” model of care for older adults. Needs assessments clearly show the gap in access to oral health care. The reasoning was to develop a program that makes it easy for older adults to participate.

In the first weeks of the program, alternating between the White River Junction and Woodstock centers, 17 seniors participated. The hygienist offers a dry brushing, fluoride varnish, and screening for oral cancer.

Older adults with dentures are also welcome to take part in the pilot program. The hygienist can assess the condition of the dentures and whether they fit properly so the person is able to enjoy a balanced diet. Many seniors suffer from poor nutrition precisely because of ill-fitting dentures.

Thornburg pointed out that Medicaid patients in Vermont are eligible for $510/per year in dental coverage, a benefit she says many people are not aware of. New Hampshire does not offer this Medicaid benefit, and Medicare does not cover any dental expenses.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Ottauquechee Health Foundation at 802-457-4188 or ohf@sover.net.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

New donut shop opening in Ludlow

June 5, 2024
The grand opening of New England Cider Donuts at 29 Main St. in Ludlow was recently celebrated with a ribbon cutting. The new shop will offer local coffee, breakfast sandwiches, assorted baked goods, in addition to delicious cider and specialty donuts. In the summer months it’ll also offer extravagant ice cream sundaes. 

United Way of Rutland County names new exc. director

May 22, 2024
The United Way of Rutland County (UWRC) announced the appointment of Tina Van Guilder as its new executive director, May 17.  Van Guilder officially assumed her role as executive director May 6. With over seven years of direct non-profit leadership experience in the Rutland County area, coupled with recent roles focusing on grant coordination, budget…

Three reasons I’m voting ‘Yes’ for the new school build

February 28, 2024
Dear Editor, As a full-time Killington resident, here are three reasons why I’m voting for the new school build. First, the time is now. As others have indicated in previous letters, seven years of school boards have been working on this project. Over the course of that time, volunteer school board members, community members, and…

Suspect arrested in shooting of 3 Palestinian American students

November 29, 2023
  By Alan J. Keays/VTDigger Burlington Police say they have arrested a suspect in the shooting Saturday night that wounded three young Palestinian American men. The three men, all 20 years old, were in Burlington visiting relatives of one of the men over the Thanksgiving holiday when the shooting took place around 6:30 p.m. Saturday…