CLEARFIELD – Pennsylvania has 164 Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (DHPSA), meaning only 39 percent of the dental need in the commonwealth, based on a 5,000-to-1 population to dentist ratio.
Workforce distribution disparities contribute to the access to care crisis, not just in Pennsylvania, but also across the United States.
In addition, many frail elders are unable to secure transportation for dental visits or pay for adequate dental care. Likewise, dental care coverage is limited or non-existent via Medicare and or Medicaid.
To meet this need in Clearfield County, the CCAAA has developed and packaged Oral Health Kits, which include toothbrushes, toothpaste, denture tablets and oral health educational material.
And 15,000 of these packets have been prepared this summer and will be distributed to area seniors on a quarterly basis through the agency’s Meals on Wheels Program and Centers for Active Living.
These packets were made possible by generous donations from the community to meet the needs of older adults, and, as a direct result of that support, will provide the tools older adults need to improve their oral health and dental issue prevention.
Anyone interested in learning more about this county-wide initiative, or, who is seeking assistance with dental coverage via Medicare, is encouraged to contact the agency at 814-765-2696.
Pictured standing, from left to right, are Ethen Tarner (COO, CCAAA), Rosemary Gillespie (volunteer), and Lindsey Mays (volunteer)
Programs and services of the agency are funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc., Mature Resources Foundation and local and consumer contributions.