Meeting oral health challenges in long-term care facilities

Pamela Stein, Joanna Aalboe, Judith Skelton, Bryan M. Bright, Molly Housley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests that there is a link between oral health problems and systemic health, quality of life, and overall longevity. As many elders residing in long-term care (LTC) facilities are dependent on staff and caregivers for help with activities of daily living, including daily hygiene practices, research shows that only a fraction of LTC residents are receiving the oral care they need. The lack of oral care in LTC may be attributed to numerous barriers, including lack of staff education, time, and accountability. Given that approximately 75% of baby boomers will eventually reside in an LTC facility, many of whom will have the majority of their natural teeth intact, it is imperative that LTC providers become more proactive in educating and training staff in daily oral care measures as a means of providing optimal care in this setting. In this report, the authors describe how their team from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry worked in collaboration with a nearby LTC facility to create and implement a comprehensive oral health care training program for nursing assistants. Upon successful implementation, a complete set of free training materials was prepared so that administrators and nursing staff at other LTC facilities may learn from the authors' experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-34
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Long-Term Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Long-term care
  • Malnutrition
  • Oral health
  • Periodontal disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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