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Navigating oral health obstacles

New resource offers guidance for dental professionals who develop oral health programs and train caregivers

Navigating oral health obstacles
Dr. Glassman

Dental experts authored Overcoming Obstacles to Oral Health, available through the Fall 2011 ADA Catalog, to address the direct caregiver’s challenges in providing oral health care to people in long-term care facilities and other such institutions.

“There are lots of reasons why people become dependent on someone else to do basic things for them like daily mouth care,” said Dr. Paul Glassman, primary author. “It could be that you’ve got a lot of medical problems. You could have dementia. You could have a developmental or a physical disability.”

The new catalog offering helps trainers in setting up programs or in educating direct caregivers.

“It’s an area that many oral health and other professionals don’t have much training in,” said Dr. Glassman, a professor of dental practice and director of community oral health at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. “So if they’re called upon to provide this kind of training for direct caregivers this is a valuable resource for them.”

Overcoming Obstacles to Oral Health (P030) provides information about how to set up an oral health program and train direct caregivers to people unable to administer their own oral care. The program covers methodology for training facility administrators, directors, supervisors and other trainers. But, importantly, said Dr. Glassman, the program also provides solutions to typical challenges that can undermine a successful oral health program.

“The literature is clear that if you just do training for direct caregivers, it often does not result in behavior change,” Dr. Glassman said. “So we have information in here about how to set up an environment where there is the right kind of emphasis placed on daily mouth care,” including setting up monitoring and reward systems, he said.

The program’s CD is filled with printable forms, tests, manuals and workbooks that can be used by either direct caregivers or trainers of direct caregivers. The DVD features videos for both audiences.

All ADA Catalog products are available online at or by calling 1-800-947-4746. Overcoming Obstacles to Oral Health is available at $129.95 for ADA members and $195 for nonmembers. A 15 percent discount is available through Jan. 15 using priority code 11741.