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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Older Americans Face Barriers When Trying To Access Oral Healthcare

Oral Health America Releases New Survey Results to Launch Fall for Smiles Campaign

September 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The older adult population in the United States is rapidly increasing, with 10,000 Americans reaching retirement age every day, but many face barriers when it comes to accessing oral healthcare.

According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Oral Health America (OHA), more than half of low income older adults have not seen a dentist in the past year, with most citing lack of income or lack of dental insurance as the reason.

In addition, older Americans are not being educated about oral health from the health professionals they see most often, especially when they are unable to see a dentist on a regular basis.

According to the survey, sponsored by the DentaQuest Foundation, 71 percent of respondents said their doctor rarely or never discusses how medications can impact oral health and 66 percent said the same of their pharmacist.

"Older Americans deserve to have the resources they need to maintain a healthy mouth as they age," said OHA President and CEO Beth Truett.

"Mouth health impacts overall health, especially for older adults, and those with poor oral health face increased obstacles to keeping their teeth, avoiding gum disease and staying active and independent."

These barriers are why OHA's Fall for Smiles campaign is so important. The annual public awareness campaign promotes the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth through daily brushing, flossing and rinsing, regular dental visits, eating healthy foods and avoiding tobacco products.

To call attention to the oral healthcare challenges facing older adults, OHA and Oral Healthcare Can't Wait, an initiative of the Dental Trade Alliance, together with the DentaQuest Foundation, are hosting an event on Capitol Hill on September 30.

The event, Aging in America: "You Can't Be Healthy Without Good Oral Health," will bring together oral health leaders who will learn the results of OHA's recent Harris Poll on older adult oral health and preview A State of Decay, Vol. III, OHA's biannual report on the state of older adult oral health in America.

For more information about attending this event, please visit the Fall for Smileswebpage,

"The 2015 Fall for Smiles campaign focuses on the oral health of older adults," said Dental Trade Alliance CEO, Gary Price, "but the message of Fall for Smiles is important for all ages.

As a founding partner of the campaign in 2010, Oral Healthcare Can't Wait supports the messages that call on industry and professional partners to participate in the Fall for Smilescampaign during September and October, to raise awareness about the importance of oral health."

Fall for Smiles is generously sponsored by: 3M ESPE, DentaQuest Foundation, Denticator, Hu-Friedy, Listerine, Midmark, National Dental Association, Oral Healthcare Can't Wait, Patterson Dental, Sunstar, Trident and Whip Mix.

About Oral Health America
OHA's mission is to change lives by connecting communities with resources to drive access to care, increase health literacy, and advocate for policies that improve overall health through better oral health for all Americans, especially those most vulnerable.

Through Smiles Across America®, which serves 460,000 children annually, the Wisdom Tooth Project®, which reaches tens of thousands of older adults, and the Campaigns for Oral Health Equity, which prioritize oral health alongside other chronic diseases, OHA helps Americans of all ages to have a healthy mouth and to understand the importance of oral health for overall health. For more information about Oral Health America, please visit

® Smiles Across America and Wisdom Tooth Project are both registered trademarks of Oral Health America

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