Poor oral health practices contribute to negative health outcomes for residents of long-term care facilities. The abundance of current information on the oral–systemic connection underscores the need for improved oral hygiene among all citizens but specifically for older adults, who face challenges for self-care due to sensory, mobility, endurance and cognitive deficits. Dental hygienists are oral disease prevention specialists and are trained to perform dental procedures that significantly improve a person’s oral health. Dental hygienists are legally permitted to provide many oral healthcare services to residents of long-term care facilities independent of dentist supervision or in collaborative agreements with dentists. Models of collaboration between long-term care facilities and dental hygienists have proven efficacious in enhancing overall health outcomes for residents.
Annals of Long-Term Care: Clinical Care and Aging. 2015;23(9):21-24.