PUBLISHED: 5:27 PM on Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Dental association addresses seniors' oral health needs
Amber Tingey, as an Alliance member, is participating in Senior Smiles, a national oral health awareness campaign of the Alliance of the American Dental Association in partnership with Sullivan-Schein Dental-a Henry Schein Company and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. The mission of the Senior Smiles campaign is to educate seniors on the importance of good oral health and to raise awareness within the community of the oral health needs of seniors.

The Alliance of the American Dental Association has designated August 15, 2006 as National Senior Smiles Day. On that day over 100 Alliance chapters across the country will deliver more than 10,000 Senior Smiles kits containing dental healthcare products and educational materials to homebound seniors.

Locally Tingey will provide 145 kits to Cornerstone Home Health for distribution to homebound seniors in Juneau and Haines .

"This event is a great opportunity to reach the homebound seniors in our community and call attention to the oral health care needs of our elderly citizens," Tingey said. "We are grateful to the Senior Smiles program and Cornerstone Home Health for helping us in this endeavor."

According to the American Association of Public Health Dentistry "The greatest oral health problems facing America's seniors are tooth decay, periodontal or gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancers. Seniors with few teeth or broken down teeth are disadvantaged in their food choices and their ability to communicate

The American Dental Association, the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization have stated, "The interrelationship between oral health and general health is particularly pronounced among older people. Poor oral health can increase the risks to general health. Similarly, systemic diseases and/or the adverse side effects of their treatments can lead to an increased risk of oral diseases."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported "with this population of persons (65 and over) growing and expected to reach 20% of the population by 2030, it is likely than many will be homebound."

It is imperative that this population receives oral health education and access to care for the improvement of oral and general physical and emotional health

The Alliance of the American Dental Association (AADA) is the organization of ADA member spouses committed to supporting the American Dental Association through public oral health education, legislative advocacy and the well being of the dental family. AADA is the developer of the Senior Smiles program.

Sullivan-Schein Dental-a Henry Schein Company and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare are the sponsors of Senior Smiles and exclusive providers of the oral healthcare products and educational materials.