Oral health has a significant impact on the overall health of the body. Maintaining ideal oral health is necessary for eating, speaking and quality of life. Chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, upper respiratory infections, and dementia, have been linked to poor oral health conditions. Despite the importance of a healthy mouth, having good oral health and access to affordable dental care may be challenging for the older Iowan.
I-Smile Silver is a pilot project, modeled after the I-Smile program for children, aiming to achieve optimal oral health for older Iowans. This project is supported by the Lifelong Smiles Coalition; funded by Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation and the Health Resources and Services Administration; and is administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The department has contracts with Lee, Scott, and Webster County Health Departments to operate I-Smile Silver locally. The three health departments each have a dental hygienist serving as the local I-Smile Silver Coordinator. I-Smile Silver Coordinators work with community partners to address oral health care for older Iowans. Medical and dental care providers, home health agencies, nursing facilities, community organizations, and businesses are a few of the partners working with the I-Smile Silver coordinators to improve access to oral health care for older Iowans.
I-Smile Silver strategies include:
- Assessing needs and assets related to oral health for older Iowans
- Providing training for nursing facility staff and home care providers
- Creating referral networks with dental offices
- Providing care coordination to facilitate access to dental care
- Providing preventive dental services to nursing facility residents
For more information on the I-Smile Silver program or to find your coordinator visit the I-Smile Silver webpage.
Iowa CareGivers - offering the Mouth Care Matters curriculum, designed to enhance oral care skills for caregivers. For more information on future classes in your area visit the website or call 515-223-2805.