About Brushing Up on Mouth Care

health care research - Healthy TeethThe Brushing Up on Mouth Care Program was created to examine the integration of oral health care for frail and dependent older adults into a variety of continuing care settings in rural Nova Scotia, Canada.

This collaboration of health care researchers and providers explored the broad-spectrum of influences on daily mouth care in long-term care to assist in establishing a formal process for integrating oral care into organizational policy and practice.

Why is this research important?

Although health care systems are concerned with a broad range of factors and services that affect the health of Canadians, oral health care has historically been absent from health care discussions. Canadians are living longer than previous generations and are also aging with a greater percentage of natural teeth. This results in new patterns of disease and greater challenges for providing care to dependent older adults.

Approximately one-third of Canadians over the age of 80 live in some form of long-term care residence. Mouth care is an integral part of daily personal care. However, it is also known that mouth care is often inadequate for those who depend on others to carry out tasks of daily living. Oral health has been given low priority in long-term care. Oral health and oral hygiene status amongst dependent older adults is poor.

This places them at risk for oral diseases and dysfunction, and greatly impacts quality of life.