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Above: An Aspen Dental team member talks with a veteran at a MouthMobile event in Fayetteville, NC
where 13 veterans received free dental care. This picture was taken at a pre-COVID event.
At Aspen Dental, giving back to veterans through in-kind care is an essential part of who we are. Since 2014, through our Healthy Mouth Movement, Aspen Dental practices across the country have made it their mission to treat veterans in need, donating more than $22 million in dentistry and serving more than 27,000 patients.
Since the beginning of the Healthy Mouth Movement, Aspen Nation’s MouthMobile, a 42-foot long dentist office on wheels, has traveled state-to-state providing free care to veterans in communities where care may not be easy to access.
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But 2020 threw a wrench in our plans. Earlier this year, in compliance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Dental Association (ADA) and state guidelines, we parked the MouthMobile while Aspen Dental care teams focused on helping patients in need, bringing emergent and virtual care safely to hundreds of thousands of patients. Our practices are open, and we believe it’s a perfect time to get back to helping veterans once again.
The critical mission of supporting the dental care needs of veterans aligns closely with the brand promise of Aspen Dental’s practices. According to the CDC, more than 110 million Americans haven’t gone to the dentist in the past year, and research suggests nearly half of adults have delayed care since the start of the pandemic. In addition, millions of people live in places where there is little or no access to care. Other barriers get in the way too -- like cost, lack of insurance, and fear. This is especially challenging for most of our nation’s veterans as they are not eligible for dental benefits through the Veterans Administration unless they are 100 percent disabled, have a service-related mouth injury or were a prisoner of war, according to the National Veterans Foundation.
While much has changed since our last MouthMobile stop in Augusta, Georgia we remain committed to getting back on the road in close partnership with our care teams, volunteers and community partners.
Keep an eye on our Healthy Mouth Movement webpage for updates on how we are restarting our program.