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April 2017


April is Oral Health Month – a good reminder to maintain healthy habits and recognize how good oral health can benefit our overall well-being.

Prevention is key. Daily brushing and flossing, not smoking, reducing our daily intake of sugars, and drinking fluoridated water go a long way in lowering the risk of oral health issues and improving our overall health. Regular check-ups are also important to oral health maintenance.

Healthy mouths and teeth can play an important role in someone’s overall well-being. For example, children are able to concentrate better in school without pain from cavities, toothaches or gum disease; and seniors are more likely to maintain a healthy diet and social interaction if they have good oral health.

We are pleased to support programs like the Children’s Oral Health Initiative (COHI), which helps First Nations families establish and maintain healthy teeth and gums by providing educational and preventive services in their community. COHI practitioners host dental clinics for infants and children, and introduce children to oral health and hygiene through fun activities.

This month also provides an opportunity to recognize Canada’s dedicated oral health professionals. Among those are our dental hygienists. April 8 to 14 is National Dental Hygienists Week and you can show your appreciation for hygienists by using #NDHW17 on social media.

For tips on how to maintain your oral health and prevent disease, you can visit Health Canada’s Oral Health webpage.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of 

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

February 7, 2017


Saskatchewan Oral Health Coalition

101- 310 Idylwyld Dr. N.

Saskatoon, SK

S7L 0Z2

Preparations for Dental Day 2017 are underway with the date scheduled for Saturday, May 6, 2017. In previous years the SOHC has generously provided sponsorship to help make this event possible. Saskatchewan Polytechnic Dental Hygiene students partner with the Regina Food Bank and the Regina Open Door Society to help identify individuals who are in need. Dental Day allows us to come together as a community to provide free dental treatment to Regina residents and surrounding communities who experience financial barriers which prevent them from accessing dental care.

Last year’s Dental Day involved 70 student and faculty volunteers, 16 dentists, 3 denturists, 5 dental therapists, 19 dental assistants and 16 hygienists. These volunteers had the opportunity to see 80 clients and complete $44,000 worth of dentistry.

Contributing to Dental Day 2017 will help provide some of necessary materials and supplies that are required for the event to take place. A donation of any amount would be of assistance, and in past years SOHC has contributed $1500. We would graciously appreciate this continued sponsorship for Dental Day 2017, and we would recognize SOHC in the media and all other announcements. In addition, Gift in Kind receipts can be issued.

If you are interested in making a donation, please contact Dean Lefebvre at dean.lefebvre@saskpolytech.ca.

Thank you in advance for considering to support a rewarding community oral health project.



Dean Lefebvre



Contact: Nicole Blair 

(770) 488-5808

CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention 

and Health Promotion 

JANUARY 17, 2017





CDC Releases New Mobile App for 

Infection Prevention in Dental Settings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released a new mobile application (app) to assist dental facilities with monitoring compliance with recommended infection prevention practices. The app, CDC DentalCheck, is a tool dental practices can use to evaluate dental health care personnel (DHCP) compliance with administrative policies and clinical practice infection prevention and control recommendations.

”The CDC DentalCheck app automates an Infection Prevention Checklist and allows DHCP to easily move throughout the practice as they evaluate their compliance with recommended infection prevention practices,” stated CDC Dental Officer Michele Junger. “It is another tool practices can use to assure their compliance with CDC recommendations.”

The app is based on recommendations contained in CDC’s “Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings – 2003,” which remains the standard of practice for clinical dentistry, as well as other recommendations relevant to dentistry published by CDC since 2003. It can be used

To ensure the dental health care setting has appropriate infection prevention policies and practices in place, including appropriate training and education of DHCP on infection prevention practices and adequate supplies to allow personnel to provide safe care and a safe working environment.

To systematically assess compliance of personnel with infection prevention practices and provide feedback regarding performance. Assessment of compliance should be conducted by direct observation of DHCP during the performance of their duties.

Within the app, users can navigate to key references and resources for each area of focus including sterilization, safe injection practices, and hand hygiene in dental settings.

CDC DentalCheck can be downloaded through the iTunes App Store. It can be displayed on any iOS enabled mobile device, such as a telephone or iPad. Dental health care personnel using the app can export the data and corresponding notes, which can be used for documentation of program evaluation. The exported file can be printed, shared with others, or saved in PDF format.

Visit CDC’s Oral Health website to learn more about the CDC DentalCheck app.

April 05, 2016

April is Oral Health Month. This year’s theme, “Good Oral Health Habits”, reminds us of the importance of oral health as part of our overall wellbeing.

People are often surprised to learn that oral health problems go beyond cavities and toothaches. Research tells us that there may be links between oral diseases and health problems like diabetes and heart disease. 

So, don't overlook your oral health.  Regular check-ups with an oral health professional, daily brushing and flossing, not smoking, reducing daily intake of sugars, and drinking fluoridated water will lower the risk of oral health problems and improve overall health. Simple daily routines, like brushing with your kids at bedtime, can make oral health care fun.

Oral Health Month can’t be celebrated without recognizing Canada’s dedicated oral health professionals. Our dentists and dental hygienists provide the preventive and therapeutic oral health care that helps Canadians keep their mouths and teeth healthy. In fact, April 9 to 15 is National Dental Hygienists Week. Come join the conversation by using the hashtag #NDHW2016 on social media to show your appreciation.

This month, I encourage you to pay extra attention to your own and your family’s oral health routines. Check out Health Canada’s Oral Health webpage for tips on how to maintain your oral health, prevent diseases and learn more about water fluoridation.

Celebrate your smile!

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health

Source: Health Canada 

April 25, 2015
Do you know of programs in your community that are working well to help people living in poverty? Please share your experience. Complete the online survey by May 15, 2015 to share your thoughts on how the Saskatchewan Poverty Reduction Strategy should be developed.

Visit Government of Saskatchewan  website to find out more.

March 23, 2014Saskatchewan Prevention Institute logo

A Prenatal Care Gap
Pregnant women are an important group for enhanced, targeted oral health promotion.    
Pregnant women are at higher risk for oral disease because of hormonal changes that affect their gums and because many women do not access dental care during pregnancy.  
Many women mistakenly believe they should avoid dental visits during pregnancy and many dentists are reluctant to treat pregnant women because they are unaware of current guidelines in treating pregnant patients or fear of litigation.  Also, many prenatal health professionals fail to discuss oral health with their patients.    

Benefitting the Overall Health of Women and Children
Good oral health is important not only for the health of pregnant women but also for their children.  
Pregnant women with periodontal (gum and bone) disease may have a higher risk of delivering a pre-term or low birth weight baby.  
Also, the oral health status of mothers is a strong predictor of the oral health status of their children in two main ways:

  • Tooth decay in children begins when cavity-causing bacteria (mutans streptococci) are passed from caregivers to children (babies are not born with these bacteria).  Mothers are the most common source of bacteria transmission which can occur when sharing spoons or pacifiers. 
  • Mothers’ dental attitudes and behaviours are strongly correlated with their children’s oral health. 

The Maternal Oral Health Project 
A Saskatchewan Oral Health Coalition project group formed in 2013 to initiate discussion, cross-disciplinary thinking, and collaboration to guide action and strategy development to enhance maternal oral health in Saskatchewan.  
The project group is facilitated by the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute.  Project partners include the Saskatoon Health Region, Saskatchewan Dental Hygienists Association, Ministry of Health, University of Saskatchewan College of Dentistry, and College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan.   

The project’s goal
Oral health is increasingly viewed and included as a core component of routine prenatal care provided by maternal health and oral health professionals in Saskatchewan.

The project strategies 
Increasing oral health literacy:  The public and health care providers are largely unaware of the health impacts of oral disease, the basic risk factors and oral disease prevention.  Education aimed at individual pregnant women and health care professionals is a foundational strategy for maternal oral health. 

  • Health system integration:  Family physicians, obstetricians, and midwives are more likely to see pregnant women than are oral health professionals and are therefore important partners in providing early risk assessment, anticipatory guidance and referrals for dental exams and treatment.  Also, oral health and maternal health professionals working together can enhance maternal oral health promotion and disease treatment by sharing information, providing basic diagnostic services, and consulting one another.
  • Workforce development:  Continuing education for family physicians, obstetricians, midwives on the importance of oral health and its link to overall health and pregnancy outcomes, early risk assessment, and provision of anticipatory guidance.  Also, continuing education for oral health professionals on the implications of untreated oral conditions in pregnancy, encouraging regular visits during pregnancy, and interventions and precautions by trimester.
  • Increase access:  Raise awareness of the inequities in access to care and support more effective and accessible services. 
  • Funding: Target investment for oral public health programs for pregnant women and expand preventive dental public health programs among those with the greatest oral health disparities.
  • Monitoring, research and evaluation:  Enhance surveillance, research and program evaluation related to maternal oral health. 

Oral Health - A Core Component of Routine Prenatal Care
Increasing understanding, skills, and motivation in oral health professionals, maternal health professionals (family physicians, obstetricians and midwives), and women themselves are all key in integrating oral health into routine prenatal care in Saskatchewan.

Oct 31, 2013

During 2007-2008, two pilot projects began in Saskatoon and Regina to improve access to dental treatment for LTC residents.

In Regina, Santa Maria LTC home developed a fully equipped dental operatory.  Oral health professionals volunteered to provide free oral health assessments.  Identified treatment was provided on site in the dental operatory for residents who consented to treatment.  Treatment was paid for by the resident or their family.

In Saskatoon, a collaborative approach was taken with the University of Saskatchewan, College of Dentistry, Saskatoon Health Region (SHR), and private practice dentists.  Portable equipment was used at St. Anne’s Home and the Saskatoon Convalescent Home to provide identified dental treatment to residents (paid for by the resident or their family) who consented to treatment following a free assessment.

To date, the Regina Santa Maria project operates in the same manner as when implemented.  In Saskatoon, the private practice dentist continues to provide dental treatment using portable equipment, to consenting residents at several LTC homes in the Saskatoon Health Region.

In Saskatoon, it was determined that dental treatment could be provided more effectively and efficiently with support from an “oral health coordinator”.  The coordinator would be a liaison with the LTC home and would arrange clients’ appointments and schedules with LTC staff more effectively.

In 2011, the University of Saskatchewan, College of Dentistry, and SHR Seniors’ and Continuing  Care and Population and Public Health, teamed up and applied for a SHR Community Wellness Grant.  The grant request was successful, and was used to fund a dental assistant via the College of Dentistry.  The dental assistant became the LTC oral health coordinator.  In addition, the College of Dentistry directed dental residents (dentists who are doing a one year internship) to provide free oral health assessments for residents at Parkridge Centre and Sherbrooke Community Centre LTC homes.  The LTC oral health coordinator assisted the resident dentists, provided all administrative support and worked cooperatively with LTC staff to ensure clients and their families received information, communication, scheduling, etc..

A program evaluation showed this model worked well.  It increased staff/resident understanding, reduced the number of clients who missed appointments or were not prepared for treatment, and provided a liaison between the LTC home and the dental providers.

The dental resident/LTC oral health coordinator model works well in SHR.  This model needs to be self-sustaining and to assist with this in the future, assessments will be covered by dental insurance and/or resident self-paid.

In 2010, the Saskatchewan Oral Health Coalition (SOHC) began.  It is a group of oral health professionals, community agencies, health region staff, provincial and national government representatives, and interested groups and individuals whose common goal is to improve oral health, particularly among vulnerable populations.  In 2011, the SOHC identified oral health in LTC as the number one priority.

Since 2011, the SOHC and the Saskatchewan Oral Health Professions (SOHP) group have worked collaboratively to develop a Saskatchewan strategy for oral health in LTC.  This process included a best practice literature review, policy and procedure review, and collection of various oral health data related to LTC and pilot projects in Saskatchewan.

In 2011, the SOHP and SOHC endorsed the use and adaptation of Better Oral Health in Long Term Care – a training resource that is a national program in Australia.  The resource license was agreed to between SHR and Australia.  The license allowed for Saskatchewan adaptations.  During 2011-2013, SOHP representatives worked to modify the training resource to Canadian/Saskatchewan standards.  In 2013, the resource was retitled Better Oral Health in Long Term Care – Best Practice Standards for Saskatchewan. 

In fall of 2013, SHR will be focus testing the Better Oral Health in Long Term Care – Best Practice Standards for Saskatchewan at Parkridge Centre.  Parkridge staff decided to begin with training staff in two of their neighborhoods to provide daily oral care.  Daily oral care has not been routinely provided, even though dental treatment has been available for Partridge residents for the past few years.  SHR PPH staff will assess residents prior to training staff.  The daily oral care program will be implemented by special care aides and after 6-8 weeks, an oral health reassessment will occur.  Expansion to other Parkridge neighborhoods and LTC homes in SHR will follow, if the focus testing is successful.

The SOHC & SOHP group is completing a report on the Saskatchewan Strategy for Oral Health in LTC that will include recommendations for provincial authorities to consider.

Improved oral health in LTC can improve overall health, reduce hospitalizations, and significantly improve quality of life.

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