For many years, our state and federal leaders have made a big investment  in keeping kids healthy by increasing their access to health care coverage. Building on the success of RIte Care (Rhode Island’s Medicaid and CHIP Program), the Affordable ...

Teeth First! Teeth First!
TeethFirst!

About Us

Who We Are

TeethFirst! is a collaborative group of organizations, including:

American Academy of Pediatrics, RI Chapter
Delta Dental of Rhode Island
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
RI Oral Health Commission
Medicaid-CHIP State Dental Association
Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island
RI Dental Association
RI Dental Hygienists’ Association
RI Dental Assistants Association
RI Department of Health’s Oral Health Program
RI Executive Office of Health and Human Services/Medicaid
RI Health Center Association
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
St. Joseph Pediatric Dental Center
Samuels Sinclair Dental Center at Rhode Island Hospital
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan
UnitedHealthcare Dental/RIte Smiles
WIC

For a printable version of About Us, please click here.

To learn more about TeethFirst!, please watch this video, that features many of our partners talking about what TeethFirst! means to them.  
 

Mission

TeethFirst! promotes early dental visits for very young children in Rhode Island.   

TeethFirst! believes

  • Early dental visits put our children on a path to healthy smiles for a lifetime
  • It’s never too soon for dentists and families to team up--making a child’s first teeth a priority from the start
  • Great healthcare requires a team – and dentists are part of everyone’s health care team
  • It takes a community working together to keep our little ones healthy

TeethFirst! is for

Parents and Families

  • Encourages parents and families to take their children for early dental visits
  • Explains dental coverage and how to find a dentist
  • Identifies dental providers who will care for their children

Dental Providers

  • Provides professional development opportunities for dental providers
  • Enhances provider knowledge, skills, and comfort with treating very young children
  • Creates a peer learning network among dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants

Health Care Providers

  • Educates health care providers about the importance of oral health
  • Shares resources to build with health care providers’ skills in talking about oral health with their patients
  • Informs heath care providers about how to refer their patients to a dental home

Community Organizations (WIC, Early Head Start, Head Start, Child Care Providers, etc.)

  • Educates staff at community organizations that serve families about the importance of oral health
  • Shares resources about oral health for staff and families
  • Informs staff about how to refer families to a dental home

Lead Organizations

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT serves as the lead agency for TeethFirst! The mission of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is to improve the health, safety, education, economic security, and development of Rhode Island's children. Access to oral health care for Rhode Island’s children and youth has been a key policy priority for Rhode Island KIDS COUNT for nearly two decades.

Rhode Island Oral Health Commission
TeethFirst! is an initiative of the Rhode Island Oral Health Commission.  The Commission has been the key foundation from which considerable progress has been made in Rhode Island in terms of improved access to dental care for children and elders; expansion of school-linked services; improvements in the dental safety net and the establishment and expansion of two dental residency programs in Providence.  TeethFirst! operates as a Working Group of the Commission, with updates provided at quarterly Commission meetings and a majority of individuals belonging to both the TeethFirst! Leadership Team and the Commission.  The goals and activities of TeethFirst! support priority areas outlined in the 2011-2016 Rhode Island Oral Health State Plan.

Supporters

DentaQuest Foundation’s Oral Health 2014 Initiative
The DentaQuest Foundation was established in 2000 with a mission to support and promote optimal oral health. The Foundation collaborates with partners in communities across the United States, connecting key stakeholders, raising awareness, and supporting solutions.

Launched in 2011, the DentaQuest Foundation’s multi-year Oral Health 2014 Initiative is building a national groundswell of activity on behalf of oral health for all. Oral Health 2014 grantees are state-based organizations working to eliminate systemic barriers that keep many from attaining good oral health through strong community partnerships. The DentaQuest Foundation is supporting Oral Health 2014 organizations with financial support and technical assistance. These organizations are gaining national recognition as state models for engaging communities to make improving oral health an important public health priority.

DentaQuest Foundation's Oral Health 2020 Initiative
Since launching a national systems-change strategy in 2010, DentaQuest Foundation investments have helped to build a large, interconnected network of national, state, and community-based change agents dedicated to improving the oral health of all. Today, this network is transforming the national dialogue and re-shaping the landscape of action on behalf of optimal oral health for all.

Oral Health 2020 is a multi-year effort to strengthen and unify the network, build upon current initiative strategies, and expand impact.  The time is right to bring about lasting systems change through the power of collective action. We are engaging grantees and partners around a set of bold, shared goals with specific targets to be achieved by 2020.

Delta Dental of Rhode Island
Delta Dental of Rhode Island is the state’s leading dental insurer, administering dental benefits for 620,000 members. Through its Delta Dental of Rhode Island Fund, they provided matching funds for TeethFirst! and serve as a member of our Leadership Team.

Rhode Island Department of Health’s Oral Health Program

  • The Oral Health Program (OHP) at the Rhode Island Department of Health aims to achieve optimal oral health for all by eliminating oral health disparities in Rhode Island while also integrating oral health with overall health. The OHP focuses on prevention of oral disease through assurance of state-level oral health and public health leadership, documentation of the burden of oral disease in Rhode Island, and collaboration with statewide partners. Through grant awards from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), the OHP provided funds for TeethFirst! and serves as a member of our Leadership Team.
     
  • The Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement (PIOHQI) project is located in the RI Department of Health within the Oral Health Program. A U.S. Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded project, PIOHQI focuses on collaborating with internal and external partners to reduce the prevalence of oral disease in pregnant women and infants through improved access to quality oral health care by creating better referral systems between medical and dental providers as well as increased education to community providers and families. 
 
TeethFirst! Creating healthy smiles for a lifetime.