Food Insecurity & Oral Health

The pandemic hasn’t just increased need; it’s fundamentally altered how we operate. Almost all of our food distributions have transitioned into drive-thru sites. We’ve increased the amount of volunteers needed to pre-package food onsite (reducing the hands that touch the food) but have worked diligently to keep them safe and distanced. Additionally, many of our volunteers that distribute the food are elderly and at high-risk, therefore, have stopped operations. This has required heavy logistical changes, striking up new partnerships to ensure we meet the need in our community.

We need support now more than ever. Thankfully, many in the community have stepped up to help. We also have new partners in the battle against hunger in Central California like the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation. Food insecurity is a significant concern for overall health and wellness and is closely connected to oral health. In Fresno County alone, 40% of children have untreated dental disease and 12% of adults have poor dental health. According to the Fresno County Oral Health Program Evaluation Plan, sixty-five percent of Kindergarten and almost 80% of 3rd-grade students have experienced dental disease in the county, compared to 70% of children across the state. Food insecurity directly relates to poor oral health. Think about it this way: if you live in a food desert, you most likely grocery shop at a convenient store. Your options are limited and result in foods like chips, candy, soda, and energy drinks. An abundance of these types of food will undoubtedly lead to cavities and tooth decay which can then lead to infections, abscesses, and more.

We are honored and grateful to be a recipient of a Delta Dental Community Cares Foundation grant of $50,000. This grant will help us continue our COVID-relief efforts, providing quality and nutritious foods to those in need. A balanced diet can help prevent tooth loss and decay, therefore avoiding costly medical bills and poor health. Thank you, Delta Dental Community Care Foundation, for caring for our community!

Comments
  • This is wonderful that you recognize the bidirectional relationship of oral health and food. I am a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice working with Fresno County DPH and Fresno EOC. We have a two year grant that is aimed at expanding direct care to children and resources for dental care coordination. Would you be willing to set a time to explore how we can help. I would like to include our project manager [email protected] and Ana Cruz who over sees our project at Fresno DPH [email protected]

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