Project Overview

OUR RESEARCH, POLICY & ADVOCACY

Policy

Poor oral healthcare in seniors is a significant and overlooked public health issue. Older Americans are suffering from an epidemic of untreated cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and tooth aches, largely due to limited

Poor oral healthcare in seniors is a significant and overlooked public health issue. Older Americans are suffering from an epidemic of untreated cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and tooth aches, largely due to limited or no access to professional dental care and little awareness and understanding of prevention strategies later in life.

The Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center and West Health, in collaboration with Serving Seniors and other local and national community organizations, are developing innovative healthcare models which are data-driven, focused on improving care, and ultimately lowering the cost of associated services for seniors in San Diego and throughout the country.

Using the comprehensive approach that coordinates dental, wellness, social and community-based support services, we are helping seniors achieve successful aging, alleviating the rising cost of healthcare services for all Americans, and creating new value in our healthcare system and local communities.

  • We will collect data on this integrated model to better understand its impact and share our findings and practices with other communities throughout the country
  • Seniors are in need of interventions designed to prevent and treat oral disease, which are progressive and cumulative and become more complex, costly and dangerous over time
  • According to the American Dental Hygienists Association, for every dollar spent on preventive oral care, about $8 to $50 in savings can be achieved in future dental costs[i]

[i] http://jdh.adha.org/content/79/1/11.full.pdf; accessed Jan. 2016