Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Friday, October 6, 2017 at 3:44 p.m.
Not many of us look forward to a trip to the dentist, but John McCormack rushed down to the Salvation Army to be the first patient to board the SmileMobile. The former Marine has a pair of painful, infected molars that John’s anxious to have pulled.
“It’s wonderful to be able to come in and enjoy the service here at the SmileMobile,” McCormack said thankfully.
The SmileMobile can seat three patients at a time and the RV its appearance here in Spokane in conjunction with “Teeth Week.”
Dr. Paul Phillips of Omak takes his skills on the road to patents in need at no cost.
“We travel throughout the state to about 30-35 sites a year trying to go to the locations where the need is the highest,” Phillips explained.
What happens inside your mouth can affect the health of your entire body and Delta Dental of Washington wants to make sure people gets access to dental care regardless of their ability to pay.
“Though we have great facilities that offer dental services to low income patients, we still cannot meet that need,” said Elisabeth Warder of CHAS Health.
33 percent of the adults living in Spokane County don’t have dental insurance. People on fixed incomes are especially vulnerable to missing regular dental appointments.
Warder says Spokane residents are especially at risk because there’s not enough fluoride in our drinking water.
“And because of that, many people who live in Spokane have untreated dental disease at a much greater rate than in many other communities in which I have worked,” Warder lamented.
That’s why the City of Spokane has partnered with the SmileMobile to increase access to dental health to people who may not be able to afford it.
Two- thirds of our older people suffer from gum disease and that’s linked to other problems like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
“Infections in your mouth can affect how you control those diseases or, whether or not perhaps you have a stroke or heart attack,” warned Warder.
Smile Spokane wants to make dental care available to all people regardless of their income or insurance coverage.
For more information on getting your family in the dentist’s chair, contact CHAS Health, DENT or the Eastern Washington University School of Dental Hygiene.