DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Baxter International Foundation and Americares are launching a new oral health project to help combat the negative impact poor oral hygiene can have on patients’ overall health.
The Americares Oral Health Project will give 30 Americares partner clinics across the United States the capacity to deliver oral health education to uninsured, underinsured and low-income patients. Baxter International Foundation is funding the year-long initiative with a nearly $75,000 grant to Americares, the world’s leading nonprofit provider of donated medicine and supplies.
A lack of dental care disproportionately affects low-income individuals’ overall health and socio-economic status; an estimated 164 million work hours are lost each year due to oral disease. In addition, the Mayo Clinic has found oral health may contribute to various diseases and conditions like endocarditis, cardiovascular disease and premature birth.
The Americares Oral Health Project will train partner clinic staff to integrate oral health education and introduce preventive measures for dental health issues in a primary care setting. In the United States, Americares supports a network of 1,000 clinics and health centers serving 5 million patients in need with medicine, supplies, education and training.
The new program includes a customized ''Train the Trainer'' webinar series, created in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Advancement, to educate partner clinic staff on how to integrate basic oral health education materials, including those designed for patients with low literacy, into primary and dental care settings. The training sessions will each entail three, one-hour educational modules accompanied by an oral health instructional book, ''What to Do for Healthy Teeth'' intended for children and adults. The book is an easy-to-follow, elementary guide developed by two dentists covering an extensive range of oral health topics on how to care for every tooth in adults and for children from birth to age 18.
''Baxter is steadfast in our commitment to help provide access to healthcare,'' said Stacey Eisen, president of the Baxter International Foundation and vice president, global communications at Baxter. ''Our partnership with Americares and the launch of the oral health initiative is paving a new avenue that can engage vulnerable, underserved populations to address issues related to dental care and, in turn, significantly improve their overall health.''
The training and educational resources cover a wide range of oral health topics, including maintaining healthy dental diets and a course of action to follow if a tooth is lost, and will be accompanied by basic dental supplies to help incentivize usage. Clinic training sessions will be recorded and available on SafetyNetCenter.org – Americares open source library containing critical capacity-building resources.
''Patients often believe there is a divide between mouth and body, when evidence shows that oral health affects systemic health,'' said Lindsay O’Brien, Americares director of U.S. programs and partnerships. ''We are helping healthcare providers teach proper dental hygiene and increase patients’ understanding of the impact it will have on their overall health.''
Americares is a health-focused relief and development organization that responds to people affected by poverty or disaster with life-changing health programs, medicine and medical supplies. Each year, Americares reaches more than 90 countries and all 50 U.S. states with over $600 million in innovative health programs and quality medical aid. Americares is the world’s leading nonprofit provider of donated medicine and medical supplies. For more information, visit www.americares.org.
About Baxter and the Baxter International Foundation
Baxter and the Baxter International Foundation are committed to saving and sustaining lives and creating healthier communities. Every day, Baxter employees strive to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who depend on Baxter products, and in the communities where employees live and work. The company focuses on three core areas including improving access to healthcare; fostering tomorrow’s innovation and serving its communities. Baxter works closely with public and private partners around the world to ensure people have access to the healthcare they need, to develop the next generation of innovators who will lead the way in advancing care, and to create long-lasting impact in Baxter’s communities. The Baxter International Foundation supports initiatives and organizations that make a positive, lasting impact on increasing access to healthcare for the disadvantaged and underserved.