The Alachua County Oral Health Coalition
The Oral Health Coalition of Alachua began in January 2011, supported by the DentaQuest Foundation. The Coalition is spearheaded by the Chair, Dr. Scott Tomar, a Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science professor from the University of Florida College of Dentistry, with the help of Diane Dimperio, Vice Chair and Director of Program Development at the Alachua County Health Department. The Coalition is made up of representatives from the University of Florida, Alachua County Health Department, Head Start Health Services, Alachua County Dental Association, United Way of North Central Florida, Alachua County CHOICES and We Care, among other community organizations and initiatives.
The Oral Health Coalition is in its second year of providing dental screenings to 3rd graders in local elementary schools. With the help of volunteer students, dental hygienists and dentists, over 1,000 children are screened to check for dental issues. Each child is sent home with a letter to the parents and a goodie bag filled with the necessities to care for his or her teeth: floss, toothbrush, toothpaste and a child-friendly info booklet.
In addition, the Oral Health Coalition provides the resources and direction necessary for a tooth brushing initiative at a Gainesville daycare. Under the supervision of teachers, children brush their teeth after lunch, encouraging proactive oral health behaviors at a young age.
The vision of the Oral Health Coalition is that all Alachua County residents will have good oral health. It is our mission to foster oral health through public awareness, education, advocacy and ensuring access to care.