“We are extremely grateful for the dental services that the Tooth Taxi provides to our students. Sweet Home is an economically disadvantaged community. It is often difficult to get children in for dental care in this town because the 2 dental offices here do not take the Oregon Health Plan insurance and many of our families struggle with transportation. Because of these barriers, many of our children lack dental care. The Tooth Taxi provides dental care to our disadvantaged students who are insured by OHP or who are without dental insurance, who might not otherwise receive any dental care. Thank you for the dedication you have shown and serving our students.”
Kristi Walker, Health Services Project Director
Sweet Home School District No. 55
“As a school nurse, our goal is to remove health-related barriers to a student's education. Oral health is one of those issues that can cause a significant effect on a student being comfortable enough to focus and be present while in school so they can learn. We also know that just identifying the need is not always enough to get the student the care they need. School nurses can detect urgent issues and make referrals, but there is no guarantee that the family will follow through. One of the values of the Tooth Taxi is that the services can be provided while the student is at school. Dental care is provided in a child-friendly, comfortable space that helps provide a positive experience for the child. This helps prevent the traumatic experience many children experience when they get to the point of having urgent dental needs. This can also establish a positive perception of dental care providers and promote life-long health oral health habits.
In addition, the ability of Tooth Taxi staff to do classroom presentations helps teachers meet health education standards that promote life-long healthy habits. Students learn about their teeth and ways to keep their mouth healthy and pain-free.
School nurses appreciate the Tooth Taxi as a resource to help remove health-related barriers to education for students.”
Jamie Smith, MPH, BSN, RN, NCSN, Coordinator, School Health Services
Multnomah Education Service District (MESD)
"The Dental Foundation of Oregon has a mission to improve oral health for Oregon’s children. The students here in Seaside/Gearhart, Oregon have gratefully taken advantage of this wonderful program and have reaped the benefits of the free dental services the Tooth Taxi provides. There have been some years where there were so many student dental needs, the Tooth Taxi had to come back to finish-after working on students at that site for a full week. For many parents, the Tooth Taxi is their first opportunity to receive dental care for their children.
The Oregon coast has very limited access to dental care. In fact, at this time, there are only two dental providers in our area that can accept Oregon Health Plan and those offices are both in Astoria, which is a half hour drive. Until just recently, we did not have a pediatric dentist working in our area at all. A pediatric dentist just started working in one of those offices, but even that is only one day a week, every other week.
Carrie Peterson, the manager of the Tooth Taxi Program, as well as all the other Tooth Taxi staff have been incredible with the students every year. They are patient and thoroughly explain what the steps are going to be- to make sure their dental needs are met. They also provide a lot of education about the importance of oral care that can affect overall health and try to make oral health fun. I know our teachers greatly appreciate that as well. Along with the education, the kids also get really excited about the dental kits they receive. To some of our families-even a simple toothbrush can be a hardship for them.
We are so incredibly grateful for the Tooth Taxi and the impact it will have on the overall health of our families and student population.”
Tobi Boyd, RN, BSN, Nurse
Seaside School District
“The Boys & Girls Club of Salem – Health & Dental Services Center dental home for over 3,800 uninsured and under-insured youth, facilitates ongoing relationship with partners ensuring all aspects of oral health care are delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way. Through building relationships, HDSC works to provide the added ability to provide one on one family education in oral health and healthy lifestyles helping lay the foundation for improved oral health among children in Marion and Polk counties. HDSC remains a family center for health, dental, vision, education and community resources.
The Tooth Taxi maintains a robust team of dental professionals who are willing to accept any children who need access to dental care. These efforts help youth and their families understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle, making them more likely to engage in improved oral health and return for follow-up dental appointments and preventive care at our HDSC.
The Salem-Keizer School District, which serves Marion and Polk Counties, is the second-largest school district in Oregon with over 42,000 students. Over 71% of children attending schools in this district are considered living in poverty and are eligible for free and reduced meals. Oral health is a top priority for our HDSC, our community, and our state. The Salem Health Community Needs Assessment states that 4.8% of Marion County children and 2.6% of Polk County children do not have health insurance. This means that thousands of youth in our community do not have access to regular dental care or access to health education. For undocumented children, the rates of uninsured are much higher. For those with Oregon Health Plan insurance, the wait time for services is often so long that dental health worsens and becomes an emergency and the availability of healthy lifestyles education is virtually non-existent. Ongoing support and services provided by the DFO Tooth Taxi adds credibility to our program and allow us to provide quality dental services and education for youth and families in Marion and Polk Counties.”
Jodi Loper CDA, EFDA | Health & Dental Services Director
Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties
“For years, our school-based dental screenings demonstrated that Highland Elementary had one of the highest urgent dental care rates in our district, but after hosting the Tooth Taxi for two years in a row, the urgent dental care rate dropped considerably. The Tooth Taxi's approach of providing school-site treatment interventions is a successful model! Even the best intending parents commonly cannot get their children in in for dental care appointments due to barriers such as transportation, unaffordable deductibles/co-pays, and inability to miss work.”
Jessica Dusek, Dental Health Coordinator
Salem-Keizer School District