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'I Can Smile': Low-Income Seniors Benefit From Delta Dental Grant

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)- A $45,000 grant from the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation is helping bring important oral health care to low-income seniors. Gloria Phillips says she keeps busy by sewing, doing puzzles, and taking care of her health.

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"I come to them all the time and they said, 'You really need to go have your mouth checked,' and I said 'Okay,'" said Phillips, 86.

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She says it's been 40 years since she has been to a dentist and for most seniors, routine dental can be hard to come by.

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"Medicaid covers oral health benefits for children in this state and for adults. Medicare, which is the insurance program for adults over 65 does not include an oral health benefit," said Allison Cusick with Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation & Community.

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She says that's why their foundation is providing grants to local organizations like Dominican Home Health Agency to help bring oral health care to low income seniors.

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"As you age it might be harder to keep up the health of your mouth without the regular dental visits," said Registered Nurse Mary Norris.

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Mary Norris (credit: CBS)

She has been providing health screenings with Dominican Home Health Agency for three years.

"Finding a dentist and getting that taken care of tends to be a big issue for seniors."

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But she has seen first-hand the benefits of getting those teeth taken care of.

"They've come back and just been like, 'I can eat this now and I can do this. I feel better because I can smile.'"

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CBS4's Joel Hillan interviews Allison Cusick (credit: CBS)

Seemingly small changes, making a big difference for people like Gloria.

"I think it's a really good program, I really do," she said.

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