mature woman brushingOlder KansansOlder Americans suffer from a variety of oral diseases, which in many cases interact with existing medical conditions. Oral disease affecting seniors, especially those who are identified by the American Dental Association as vulnerable elders, include tooth decay, decay of the root, periodontal disease, oral cancer. They are challenged by a lack of funds for oral health care, of transportation and mobility, of knowledge about how to protect their oral health, and of caregivers to support daily oral hygiene care.

Oral Health Kansas has established several programs/services designed to support seniors’ needs for individualized and specialized oral health care.  These include partnering with state and local agencies serving older Kansans, developing and distributing oral health public awareness and educational materials, and providing educational opportunities for all who support the care and wellbeing of vulnerable elders.

Overarching Goal

To Improve the oral health of older Kansans


  • Increase access to professional dental care for older Kansans
  • Offer continuing dental education programs focusing on the conditions and challenges that seniors face
  • Provide educational workshops on oral health care to all who provide care and support for vulnerable elders
  • Produce public awareness materials for publications addressing the needs of seniors and those who serve them

Educational MAterials

Kansas Health Care Association
Oral Health Training for Long-Term Care Providers.

Nursing Home Oral Health: a blueprint for success
This program provides a toolbox of training resources developed for dental professionals, nursing home staff and families. The educational materials are available online for free.  They include a compressive set of materials for staff development that include print and videos. These materials were developed by the University of Kentucky College Of Dentistry. 

Overcoming Obstacles to Oral Health: a training program for caregivers of people with disabilities and frail elders
This program includes a DVD and a CD with training videos and a print workbook for direct care staff, pre & post test for training sessions and a PowerPoint presentation. These materials were developed by University of the Pacific School of Dentistry – Pacific Center for Special Care. Approximately $140.00 for non-profit organizations and $200 for corporate organizations. ADA Item #P030  To Order;

Collaborative Health Care for Older Adults: United Medicine and Dentistry
Online 6minute  Video -- Dentistry for Aging Adults – Ira Lamster, Dean of Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. The New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Lamster provides a brief, but comprehensive summary of oral health issues that older adults experience. 

Enhancing Oral Health for Vulnerable Elderly Through Innovative Models of Care.
PowerPoint and and 60-minute Podcast examining current successful models to improve the oral health of older adults. Douglas Berky, DMD, MPH, MS, University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. Institute for Oral Health, 2010. Powerpoint and

Wisdom Tooth Project: an online source for information about oral health for older adults.
This is one of several resources from Oral Health America, dedicated to improving the oral health of all. 

Oral Health Kansas:  free downloadable Oral Health Tips & Tricks
These colored, easy-to-read one-page fact sheets address topics such as toothbrushing, flossing, dentures, tobacco use and oral cancer. 

Programs and Products

Smiles for a Lifetime
A comprehensive oral health care program for older Kansans being served by Area Agencies on Aging.  For more information,

Healthy Aging
An initiative highlighting strategies and activities that improve seniors’ overall well-being by addressing the integration of medical and dental conditions. For more information:

Smiles for a Lifetime Oral Health Handbook for Home Health Aides
A guide for home health agencies to use for staff orientation, training and coaching as well as for seniors and family caregivers.

Healthy Aging:  An Oral Health for Guide for Health Care Providers
A pamphlet that describes possible links between medical and dental conditions, roles for health care professionals and a list of basic questions practitioners will find useful when interviewing seniors about their oral health conditions.

Overcoming Obstacles to Oral Health
A training program for caregivers of people with disabilities and of frail elders.  Included is a DVD and supplementary materials such as training manuals and sample care plans: For more information, cost and order form: University of Pacific School of Dentistry

Nursing Home Oral Health: A Blueprint for Success
A free online set of educational materials designed to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence of direct care staff to provide daily oral hygiene care to residents of nursing homes.  Materials are available for dental professionals conducting training sessions, for staff and for families. University of Kentucky College of Dentistry 

How to Brush the Teeth of Another Person
A DVD that demonstrates step-by-step toothbrushing techniques that are  accurate, safe and respectful: Specialized Care Co


Kansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Central Plains Area Agency on Aging
Kansas Department on Aging


Oral Longevity - American Dental Association

Oral Health for Older Americans Center for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC Aims to Prevent Oral Disease Among Older Americans. American Society on Aging

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body. AARP

Copyright Oral Health Kansas • 800 SW Jackson, Ste. 1120 • Topeka, KS 66612
785.235.6039 phone • 785.233.5564 fax
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