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ADHA Offers Older Adults Insight on Oral Health during Community Service Day

Posted on Friday, June 19, 2015

Chicago (June 18, 2015) – As part of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association’s (ADHA’s) 2015 ADHA Center for Lifelong Learning at the 92nd Annual Session (CLL/AS) taking place in Nashville, Tenn., June 17-23, 2015, the organization’s Institute for Oral Health (IOH) teamed with Oral Health America (OHA) and Colgate to deliver dental hygiene education and information to older adults during its Community Service Day (CSD) on June 17, 2015. 

“As the prevention specialists of the oral health care team, dental hygienists look for opportunities to educate the public on improving their oral hygiene habits,” said ADHA President Kelli Swanson Jaecks, MA, RDH. “This year’s Community Service Day provides a great example of how we can take that message of prevention directly to older adults, helping them maintain their oral health and live happier, healthier lives.” 

This year’s CSD, sponsored by Colgate, again showcased the commitment the ADHA and IOH, supporters of the profession, and dental hygienists have to give back to the community and provide fact-based education that helps older adults understand the importance of oral health care. 

“Colgate is delighted to be in partnership with the American Dental Hygienists' Association, Oral Health America and dental hygienists around the country to help improve the oral health of older Americans,” said Barbara Shearer, BDS, MDS, PhD, Director of Scientific Affairs with Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals. “This important demographic are often at an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease due to common aging conditions such as dry mouth. Increasing awareness around these risk factors and the importance of proper oral health is pivotal.” 

Registered dental hygienists met during the morning of June 17 to review material about how older adults can maintain their oral health as they age. The topics included the importance of oral health care in preventing illness; how nutritious food choices impact oral health; and information on how keeping good oral health habits can aid in preventing tooth decay. The volunteer dental hygienists then went to seven different adult-care facilities to talk to older adults about their oral health.

“People are living longer, and the importance that good oral health plays in maintaining overall health is crucial,” added ADHA Executive Director Ann Battrell, MSDH. “The ADHA is very excited to be able to provide this type of oral health education through our volunteer dental hygiene leaders, and with the support of partners such as Colgate and Oral Health America.” 

“OHA's partnership with the ADHA is helping older adults in Nashville to see that prevention is important at every age through participation in our workshop, Tooth Wisdom: Get Smart About Your Mouth,” added OHA President and CEO Beth Truett. “Evidence to date shows that when seniors learn practical ideas for taking care of their mouths, they experience greater confidence in managing their oral health and connect the dots to their overall wellness.” 

This year, more than 2,000 individuals will be at the 2015 ADHA CLL/AS, as dental hygienists from across the country gather for professional development, continuing education, exhibits, networking and social events, as well as the ADHA’s annual business meeting. The CSD program serves as a strong kickoff for the organization’s annual meeting in Nashville, bringing registered dental hygienists from around the country together in a local community outreach event. 

“The ADHA's Institute for Oral Health is committed to bettering the public’s oral health, and supporting vital education and research initiatives that help oral health professionals improve the lives of their patients," said IOH Chair and ADHA Immediate Past President Denise Bowers, RDH, PhD. "We are proud to partner on outreach initiatives such as Community Service Day to support dental hygienists as they educate at-risk populations and help better the community.” 

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