Ready to Smile

An OCF South Coast Regional Action Initiative to Improve Children's Dental Health in Coos and Curry Counties

Rates of childhood tooth decay in Oregon are above the national average, especially among children in lower-income households. If left untreated, dental disease can have serious effects on their self-image, educational success and long-term health. To address this preventable epidemic, the Ready to Smile program ensures that children in grades 1, 2, 6 and 7 are educated about oral hygiene, given preventive care, screened for common dental problems and referred to a dentist when necessary.

Overview
Outcomes
Milestones

Overview

In December 2009, the South Coast RAI Committee created the South Coast Children’s Dental Health Initiative to ensure that children in Coos and Curry counties have timely access to dental health education and services. Committee members formed a local steering committee with community leaders — including agency heads and school district personnel — to make sure this community-driven effort would succeed.

In June 2010, The Ford Family Foundation awarded $240,000 to hire a dental health coordinator for three years to manage the school-based dental program, which the Committee named the Ready to Smile program of The Oregon Community Foundation.

Ready to Smile currently provides children in grades 1, 2, 6 and 7 with dental screenings, fluoride varnishsealants, dental kits, and oral hygiene education, as well as referrals to a dentist or mobile dental van for urgent oral care. These services are delivered through the coordinated efforts of Coos Health & Wellness and Advantage Dental.

In recognition of its support for Ready to Smile, OCF was one of 10 recipients of the first annual Secretary’s Award for Community Foundations. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Council on Foundations developed this award to honor community foundations that enhance quality of life for low- and moderate-income families. The award was announced on September 10, 2012, during the Council’s Fall Conference for Community Foundations in New Orleans. "The Oregon Community Foundation and the other honorees are shining examples of foundations at their best, demonstrating leadership, vision, partnership and investment,” said Vikki N. Spruill, president and CEO of the Council on Foundations.

Learn More

Volunteers and dentists who wish to participate in Ready to Smile are encouraged to contact Katrinka McReynolds at 541.808.7622 or Katrinka.McReynolds@chw.coos.or.us.

If you are interested in supporting or learning more about the Ready to Smile program, please contact: