Vail Valley Charitable Fund launches Eagle County Grins
Local programs provide dental health equity for children and adults during Oral Health Month
In response to overwhelming oral health needs, the Eagle County Smiles program was established by the Vail Valley Charitable Fund in 2006 with numerous organizations in Eagle County. It helps children until age 18 by assigning them a dental provider to achieve treatment, preventative care and education about healthy dental habits. Eagle County Smiles has cared for 800 children since its inception and distributed over $600,000 through the program.
Based on the success of Eagle County Smiles and feedback from applicants, the need for an adult program became apparent. Thus, Eagle County Grins launches this month to coincide with Oral Health Month.
Eagle County Grins will provide uninsured adults over 18 up to $1,500 for treatment. Dr. and Mrs. Justin Moses of Elevated Dental are cornerstone members of the Eagle County Grins collaborative. Aside from treatment and preventative measures, the initiative will help educate those who are Medicaid or CHP+ eligible to receive adult benefits already in place with the state worth up to $1,500 in annual support.
While Eagle County Smiles promotes healthy dental habits through preventive, restorative and educational care, for adult patients, undiagnosed and untreated dental issues become significantly more costly and impact patients’ mental and overall health. The goal of Eagle County Grins is to encourage adult patients to seek treatment sooner by lessening the financial burden of restorative dental work for uninsured patients.
Eagle County Grins will address the following realities in Eagle County:
- 45% of residents do not have dental insurance.
- The county is second-lowest region for adults with dental insurance coverage in 2016 and 2018.
- The county has the highest percentage of Coloradans who skipped dental care due to cost in 2019.
- The ratio of Medicaid providers to enrollees is greater than 1,150 to 1.
- People with poor oral health have a higher risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack or stroke than people with good oral health.
The work of Eagle County Smiles allows children to thrive developmentally and reach their education more equitably; children and adults can better achieve whole-body health and wellness.
The Vail Valley Charitable Fund was created in 1996 to assist individuals living and working in the Vail Valley. The nonprofit helps people experiencing financial hardship due to a medical crisis or long-term illness. In 25 years, it has raised and distributed $8.4 million to 1,800 families in the community.