Oral Health


"Oral health contributes to overall health and well-being in significant ways, such as nutrition, self-esteem and employment. Moreover, there is an emerging understanding of the relationship between oral health and physical health."

U.S. National Oral Health Alliance

Advancing Oral Health in Tennessee

The Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net initiative, funded by the DentaQuest Foundation, provides support to Primary Care Associations and Community Health Center dental programs, with the following focus areas in mind:

  • Promoting interprofessional activities among dental and medical programs in Community Health Centers.
  • Elevating the importance of oral health within the Primary Care Association and developing executive leadership at Community Health Centers to promote optimal oral health.
  • Advancing safety net oral health needs at the state level.
  • Optimizing the management of dental programs to provide sustainable and effective oral health care.

The goals of TPCA’s Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net initiative include:

  • Improve and strengthen management, finances, leadership, and community outreach activities in Community Health Center dental programs.
  • Support Community Health Center dental clinics so they can provide the best care to their patients.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with partner organizations that are already making strides in oral health in order to work together to improve the status of oral health in Tennessee.

Several TPCA member health centers have participated in the Safety Net Solutions Technical Assistance Program: East Tennessee State University: Johnson City Community Health Center (Johnson City); Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center (Nashville); Rural Health Services Consortium, Inc. (Hancock County); Erlanger SSDA Health Centers (Chattanooga); Cherokee Community Health Centers (Maynardville); Christ Community Health Centers (Memphis); Memphis Health Centers (Memphis); and Three Rivers Community Health Center (Lyles).