YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — Acting Secretary of Health and Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson visited the dental clinic at Family First Health today. This clinic is located in the George Street Center in York.

Dr. Johnson focused on emphasizing the importance of having access to oral health care for all Pennsylvanians.

“You cannot be truly healthy without good oral health,” said Dr. Johnson. “Many people do not realize that dental disease can cause a variety of health issues. Our hearts, lungs, and other organs can be harmed. Chronic conditions like diabetes can be worsened. Pregnancies are also negatively impacted. It can also take a toll on our mental health, as one factor leading to depression and low self-confidence.”  

At Family First Health’s George Street dental clinic, patients of all ages can receive dental care from dental providers. Dr. Johnson toured the clinic today, joined by Family First Health President and CEO Jenny Englerth and Vice President of Dental Services Dr. Joseph Mountain.

“It’s easy to protect your smile just by turning on the tap and drinking a glass of water,” Dr. Johnson said. “Community water fluoridation has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. The evidence from numerous academic, government and independent studies over the years has continued to demonstrate that community water fluoridation is safe, effective and economical resulting in significant benefits and cost-savings to communities.” 

Family First Health is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) that offers accessible and affordable quality care in York, Adams, and Lancaster counties. This center also has a mobile dental program that visits local elementary schools, as well as childcare centers.

“We welcome the Secretary and appreciate the spotlight her visit is shining on the importance of access to oral health care,” said Englerth. “Our team works to connect the dots between medical and dental care which supports better overall health for our patients and the communities we serve.” 

The Department of Health is working to promote the benefits of water fluoridation, as well as helping to ensure that oral health care is affordable and accessible to all by utilizing federal grants to improve the oral health workforce across the state.

Funding totaling $3.45 million will help to provide education to oral health professionals and increase the outreach to communities and vulnerable populations.