Dental kits distributed


Dental kitsDental kits were delivered to Warrenton, Astoria and Seaside schools this week. Each kit contained a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, a timer and an instruction booklet.


The entire effort was “unique because it depended on community connections,” said Mary Jackson, executive director of the Clatsop County Lunch Buddy Mentoring Program. “I have a lot of friends invested in the community and well-being. And I’m thankful for that,” she said.


Here is Mary Jackson’s story of how this developed:


I was contacted by my friend Christy Ashley. Christy sits on the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) Regional Leadership Council for our area. It was at a meeting that she discovered that approximately 300 dental kits for children were going unused.


Christy contacted me and asked if we could put them in our backpacks. The problem is that we provide our backpacks at the beginning of the year. However, I happen to know individuals who work with the weekend food backpack programs, so I agreed to contact Warrenton Hammond Healthy Kids Inc., Food for Kids (based in Seaside) and St. Vincent DePaul (Astoria Branch). 


Dental kits 2When I contacted their various representatives they were all receptive to the idea. Christy and I got a group of our friends together to put the donated kits together, and delivered them this week.   


The Oregon Community Foundation launched a five -year Children’s Dental Health Initiative in spring 2014 because Oregon has one of the highest rates of childhood dental disease. It recognizes that dental disease can affect a child’s ability to focus in school, and that it leads to absenteeism.


The foundation is focusing on a three-pronged approach in trying to address this preventable disease: 

• Increasing awareness of children’s dental disease and promoting children’s dental health. 

• Providing grants that will help increase access to school-based dental health services. 

• Advocating for policies and legislation that promote better dental health outcomes statewide. 


“We are thrilled to partner with Lunch Buddies and OCF in getting dental kits to our students, said Debbie Morrow, Warrenton School Board and Way to Wellville Advisory Council member. “Dental pain is recognized as a huge issue in student attendance and achievement. So we are always looking for ways to teach our students preventive measures like good oral hygiene.”