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Oral longevity initiative goes to dental schools

ADA reaches out to students with educational tools

OralLongevity, the initiative designed to increase awareness about the oral health needs of older Americans, is sharing its message with dental schools and students nationwide.

In August, the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations sent more than 1,700 materials packets, including an educational DVD and brochure with links to the interactive OralLongevity Web site, to U.S. dental school deans and faculty who teach geriatric dentistry courses.

"The ADA, in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and the ADA Foundation, launched the OralLongevity initiative to raise awareness about the importance of oral health care for older Americans," wrote Dr. Lindsey Robinson, then CAPIR chair. "We are now reaching out to you as part of our effort to increase visibility for OralLongevity messages and resources specifically to dental students."

Dr. Ira B. Lamster, dean of Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in New York and chair of CAPIR's Elder Care Education Committee, said, "Meeting the oral health care needs of older adults will represent a major challenge for the dental profession in the first half of the 21st century. As the number of adults 65 years and older continues to expand, and greater percentages of these individuals retain teeth, the profession will need to provide services to this segment of our population. An important part of this effort is informing older adults about the importance of a lifetime of good oral health.

"The OralLongevity program can be a great resource for dentists and other members of the oral health care team, as it defines for patients the reasons to maintaining a healthy mouth throughout the life course," added Dean Lamster. "Distributing this material to senior dental students is essential. As this next generation of dentists completes their training and begins practice, they can use this information to educate their older patients."

Along with the educational materials, recipients received a link to an order form for additional materials along with a brief, user-friendly online survey.

Also as part of its outreach to dental students, CAPIR distributed the OralLongevity DVD and brochure to delegates of the American Student Dental Association at their national meeting in March, and encouraged them to use the materials at ASDA meetings and lunch-and-learn sessions.

For more information on the OralLongevity initiative, plus interactive educational resources, frequently asked questions, presentation outlines, patient tips and more, visit the Web site: OralLongevity.ada.org.