Dental health for one of our state’s most vulnerable populations — nursing home patients — is a key focus for those of us in the Kansas oral health community.
Recent national media attention has ignited a focused discussion on the needs of the elderly and the unique challenges in helping them maintain good oral health.
Research shows that proper dental care can prevent serious, even life-threatening infections. It’s also linked to proper nutrition, as poor dental health can result in an inability to eat, compromising one’s overall health.
In Kansas, the oral health community is working proactively to meet the dental needs of our elderly fellow Kansans. In addition to Kansas dentists and hygienists offering their services in nursing homes throughout the state, we are engaged in a comprehensive review of strategies and pilot projects to improve access to care.
This initiative — one of only seven funded in the nation — has brought our state’s oral health provider community together in partnership with leaders from Kansas long-term care facilities and hospitals. These efforts are made possible by funding Kansas was awarded by the DentaQuest Foundation, which has launched a multi-year initiative — Oral Health 2014 — to help state partnerships address local oral health concerns.
Stay tuned as we next identify pilot projects in Kansas to ensure that unique challenges facing this population are addressed and good oral health needs met.
JASON WAGLE, Wichita
President, Kansas Dental Association
Letter: Helping seniors achieve dental health | CJOnline.com.