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Dental Health Center in Dubuque, IA

Posted on September 16, 2016 in Foundation

Photo Caption

From left to right: Julie Woodyard, executive director, Crescent Community Health Center; Jan Reinicke, board chair, Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation; Gretchen Brown, president and CEO, Stonehill Franciscan Services; Diana Gau, dental assistant, Crescent Community Health Center; Dan Branson, DDS and dental director, Crescent Community Health Center; State Senate President Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque.

Official “Floss Cutting” ceremonies were held today at Stonehill Franciscan Services facility in Dubuque, Iowa, to welcome the Crescent Community Health Center. With a grant from the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation for $104,958, Crescent Community Health Center will create the “Ageless Smiles” project, a satellite Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) dental clinic housed within the Stonehill long-term care facility. This dental clinic is the first of its kind in the United States.

One of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s long-term goals is to improve the oral health of, and access to care for, Iowa’s aging adults. The new clinic is housed at the Stonehill main campus to help ensure that residents and the surrounding community of older adults have access to dental health care. Additionally, the clinic provides an opportunity for ongoing training and education of the Stonehill workforce. Many of Iowa’s long term care residents have challenges in accessing dental care due to their illness, lack of transportation and the need for acute services. 

“This collaborative partnership provides an innovative model to eliminate barriers to dental care for older Iowans and embraces integrated overall health care as a standard practice,” said Jeff Russell, president of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. “By having Iowa’s first FQHC dental clinic that is housed in a long-term care facility we can demonstrate the value of private and public partnerships and how we are working together to advance our communities and care for our aging populations.”

This announcement is important due to the growing evidence about the connection between dental health care and overall health. Here are some facts that provide background for this effort: 

  • Iowa’s seniors are keeping their natural teeth longer due to supported public health infrastructure such as fluoridated water. 
  • Three in four adults over the age of 65 do not have dental insurance and 1/3 of these adults have untreated tooth decay (cavities). 
  • Many adults over the age of 65 are on at least one type of prescription medication, many of which can cause dry mouth. Saliva is very important in the fight against cavities and gum disease. 
  • Inadequate mouth care can negatively impact the whole body in the form of pneumonia and heart disease.
  • Pneumonia is the number one cause of death in nursing homes. One out of every 10 pneumonia-related deaths may be prevented by simply improving oral hygiene.1
  • Pneumonia can be caused when bacteria from tooth plaque is aspirated (inhaled) into the lungs.2

Gretchen Brown, president and CEO, Stonehill Franciscan services shares: “The addition of in-house dental services will benefit all our residents as well as nearby seniors in low-income apartment housing or those receiving in-home care who have difficulty accessing dental care. Stonehill Franciscan fully supports this new endeavor as we reach out to our community and further emphasize the importance of good dental hygiene and ultimately overall health.”

“The future of our senior’s health care demands a unity of both the medical and dental fields,” said Julie Woodyard, executive director of Crescent Community Health Center. “Our center will provide comprehensive dental services to address the whole health of seniors in our community.”

Learn more about keeping your smile healthy from ages 65+ here.

About Delta Dental of Iowa

Delta Dental of Iowa is the largest and most experienced provider of dental benefits in the state. As a not-for-profit insurance company, Delta Dental of Iowa invests in oral health and wellness projects through the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation that focus on access to care, prevention, education and research. Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s mission is to support and improve the oral health of Iowans.

Delta Dental of Iowa is a member of the Delta Dental Plans Association, the leading national network of independent dental service corporations. The Delta Dental member companies provide dental benefits to more than 70 million Americans in more than 120,000 employee groups throughout the country. For more information, visit our website at


1Sjogren P et al. A systematic review of preventive effect of oral hygiene on pneumonia and respiratory infections in elderly people in hospitals and nursing homes. J Am Geriatr Soc 2008;56:2124-2130

2See Study by QuagliarelloV et al. Modifiable risk factors for nursing home acquired pneumonia. Clin Infect Dis 2005;40:1-6.)