Filling the Gap in Oral Health for Older Adults: A Community Guide to Program Implementation

Research shows that oral health is an integral part of an older person’s overall systemic health status. Yet, national and state data reflect that many older adults have poor oral health which impacts their ability to chew or speak, causes undue pain and poor nutrition, is linked to multiple chronic conditions (cardiovascular, pulmonary, osteoarthritis, cancer, others) and can lead to social isolation and depression. However, dental benefits are not covered for adults through most federal health insurance programs and high costs are cited by older adults as the reason they lack dental coverage/care. Responding to this need, the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Administration for Community Living and the Office of Women’s Health collaborated to create publicly available tools for communities which would enable them to start or enhance oral health program for older adults, including a searchable database of vetted, low-cost, community-based oral health services and a step by step guide on how to develop and operate cost-effective, sustainable oral health programs for older adults.

This webinar will highlight these tools and their application by community public health professionals.

1. Learn how oral health is connected to a person’s overall health and will be provided context on the issues of oral health and older adults.

2. Overview of the Administration for Community Living on Aging (ACL), Administration on Aging (AoA), Office of Women’s Health (OWH) Community Oral Health database that identifies and promotes vetted, low-cost, community-based oral health service models for older adults.

3. Overview of a Community Oral Health Guide that includes key steps, case studies, and other resources for starting, or enhancing an Oral Health program.

4. Overview of materials essential for caregivers of older adults for flossing and brushing.