Dental care practices and oral health training for professional caregivers in long-term care facilities: An interdisciplinary approach to address oral health disparities

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The objectives of this study were to: 1) Assess and analyze the knowledge and attitudes of caregivers towards dental care for older adults in long-term care facilities; and 2) Train administrators, medical staff, and caregivers in the oral health competencies necessary to provide daily oral health care for residents of Assisted Living Communities in Oregon. Our results indicate that although the majority of caregivers felt comfortable with regard to their oral health background and daily activities, they expressed a need for additional training in several areas. Caregivers who participated in the training recognized the poor oral health of their residents and felt the training curriculum provided them with competencies needed to improve their daily oral health services. This innovative training demonstrates that oral health can be integrated into daily routines which could improve oral and systemic health and reduce inequities in oral health care for older adults.

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