On Thursday, Nov. 10, 2023 a Valley child was recognized for her clever thinking in naming a mobile dental clinic the “Tooth Bus". This clinic on wheels was officially named at a community event and provides dental services for those who don't have access to regular oral care. The "Tooth Bus" was funded by an $800,000 grant from UnitedHealthcare Community Plans of Arizona to Brighter Way Institute.
Among the honored guests at the official unveiling of the "Tooth Bus", was 11 year-old Leah who entered a contest created by Brighter Way with more than 100 entries of suggested names. Her mom was in the crowd and couldn't be prouder.
The event was held at Boys & Girls Clubs, Bob & Renee Parsons Branch in Phoenix, where everyone received basic dental screenings, oral health education, and “Smile Bags” containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss.
Homelessness and poverty top the list as primary drivers of poor oral health for underserved individuals in our community. The mobile dental clinic serves children and families at community health fairs across Maricopa County and visits many community based organizations.“Oral health is essential to a person’s overall well-being,” said Jean Kalbacher, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona. “Good dental hygiene and access to dental care helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases.” We’re proud to help Brighter Way continue its mission of providing comprehensive oral health care for underserved adults, children, veterans, those experiencing homelessness, and individuals with special needs.”