OHA’s Wisdom Tooth Project (WTP) aims to change the lives of older adults especially vulnerable to oral disease.
The Issue: U.S. health care system is woefully unprepared to meet the oral health challenges of a burgeoning population of older adults with special needs, chronic disease complications, and a growing inability to access and pay for dental services.
Our Work: Since 2009, our Wisdom Tooth Project® has implemented Five Strategies to combat some of the barriers that aging Americans face with regards to receiving the oral care they need.
Our Five Strategies
Strategy 1: ToothWisdom.org
Toothwisdom.org is a first-of-its-kind website that connects older adults, caregivers, and health professionals to oral health resources. Oral Health America has created a portal where individuals can look for care in their state, read resources on how to keep an aging mouth healthy, or take action to promote better oral health policies nationwide.
Strategy 2: Demonstration Projects
Demonstration projects are the WTP’s opportunity to develop new oral health initiatives, conduct research and pilot specific interventions. In 2015 OHA completed a demonstration project for pharmacists to better prepare them to answer questions older adults have regarding oral health.
Strategy 3: Advocacy
Through the WTP, OHA advocates for increased access to oral healthcare for the country’s older adults. This includes advocating for an adult dental benefit in publicly funded health insurance. Both toothwisdom.org and OHA’s biannual A State of Decay reports serve to educate the public and legislators about the importance of the barriers that aging Americans face for gaining access to care.
Strategy 4: Professional Symposia
Focusing on the unique needs and challenges facing older adults, these collaborative meetings unite diverse groups of health professionals and community leaders, at the state and national levels, with the aim of inspiring strategic change to improve the oral health of older adults.
Strategy 5: Health Education & Communications
Tooth Wisdom: Get Smart About Your Mouth, a health education curriculum for older adults delivered in community settings, launched with a pilot in Chicago last year. Additional pilots have taken place across the country throughout 2015. The Wisdom Tooth Insider e-newsletter provides monthly updates on all WTP activities.
Thank you to our generous sponsors & funders: