Arcora, the Foundation of Delta Dental of Washington

Arcora Foundation advances oral health equity and expanded prevention and access efforts for underserved communities across Washington. They are the largest foundation dedicated to this cause in the state.

Arcora Foundation’s mission—bending the arc of oral health toward equity—aligns with our shared vision—all people can enjoy good oral and overall health with no one left behind.

With their 2022-2024 strategic plan, Arcora Foundation is taking intentional steps to place equity front and center to bridge the oral health equity gap. They are focusing their prevention and access priorities on racial and ethnic communities—specifically Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)—where disparities in oral disease and access to care are significant.

Work to bridge the equity gap.
    Everyone deserves a healthy smile. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same opportunities for good oral health. Data show oral health disparities exist in Washington largely along racial and ethnic lines:
  • Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native children have a 50% higher rate of tooth decay compared to white children.
  • Nearly twice as many Black 2nd and 3rd graders (18%) experience untreated tooth decay compared to white children in the same grades (10%).
  • Among adults, nearly twice as many Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander adults (27%) experience pain in the mouth than white adults (15%).

Oral health equity means everyone from every background has fair and just opportunities to prevent oral disease and access to care when and where they need it without barriers.

Oral health is essential to overall health.
    The benefits of good oral health go beyond a healthy smile. Oral health affects overall health. Research shows links between poor oral health and conditions like:
  • Diabetes.
  • Heart disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Pregnancy complications.

    Other harmful effects of poor oral health:
  • Tooth decay is the number one chronic disease of early childhood. Learning in school can be difficult if not impossible for a child suffering the pain of cavities.
  • For adults, it’s hard to get a job if you’re missing teeth or keep a job if you’re in pain from oral disease. The health of your mouth is one of the most visible indicators of economic inequality.

When more people have healthy smiles, everyone benefits. Kids thrive in the classroom. Adults have better job opportunities. Oral disease is almost entirely preventable.

Together, we can make good oral and overall health possible for everyone.

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