Welcome to Saskatchewan Oral Health Coalition!

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SOHC Terms of Reference was developed and voted upon at the SOHC Meeting held on May 12, 2014. It was a unanimous vote of approval from all the members present at the meeting.

SOHC Terms of Reference was updated on May 18, 2017. This is based on the vote of the members present at the SOHC meeting held on October 24, 2017.

During 2007-2008, two pilot projects began in Saskatoon and Regina to provide clinical oral health services to the residents at Long Term Care (LTC) homes. In the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR), the University of Saskatchewan, College of Dentistry and a private practice dentist, Dr. Raju Bhargava and his team, implemented an oral health project at St. Anne’s Home and Saskatoon Convalescent Home. Within this project, the LTC residents received free oral health assessments. Portable equipment was then used to provide oral treatment for consenting residents. Treatment was paid for by the resident or their family. LTC home staff also received basic oral health education from SHR Oral Health Program staff.

In Regina, in partnership with the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CDSS), University of Saskatchewan, College of Dentistry, and a private practice dentist, Dr. Maureen Lefebvre conducted a pilot project in the Santa Maria LTC home. Within this project, the LTC residents received free oral health assessments. Oral treatment was provided on site in dental operatory for residents who consented to treatment (paid for by the resident or their family).

Over the next few years, Dr. Bhargava and his team in Saskatoon, and Dr. Lefebvre and Dr. Ed Reed with their team in Regina provided services to the LTC residents. The Santa Maria Seniors Oral Services (SOS) Program that originated in 2007 as a pilot project, continues to improve the oral health of LTC residents.

The initial pilot project was instrumental in demonstrating the need for oral health services in LTC homes, on-site oral health professionals to coordinate services/staff/residents, and basic daily oral care for residents. An outcome of this initial pilot was a second pilot in 2011 that supported an Oral Health Coordinator (OHC) at two LTC homes in SHR – Parkridge Centre, and Sherbrooke Community Centre. This was called the Oral Health LTC Initiative. It was supported with a $20,000 Community Wellness Grant from SHR. A registered dental assistant was hired in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan, College of Dentistry as the OHC and assisted LTC staff and residents to access oral care at each site. The College of Dentistry-General Dental Residency Program, delegated dentists from the program to provide treatment for residents who consented. All initial assessments were free of charge, to encourage residents to participate.

At the same time as these LTC pilots were occurring, the Saskatchewan Oral Health Coalition (SOHC)* was launched. Through strategic planning, the SOHC members identified that oral health in LTC homes was a significant issue, and one that they wanted to focus on. One of the outcomes of the SOHC was the partnership involved in securing the SHR- Community Wellness Grant. As a result of the SOHC working with the community related to oral health in LTC homes, the Saskatchewan Oral Health Professions (SOHP)** began to develop standardized recommendations for LTC.

Since 2011, SOHC and SOHP groups have worked collaboratively to develop a Saskatchewan strategy for oral health in LTC. The group used best practice and evidence to select a strategy and resources that provided a solid foundation for the Saskatchewan Seniors’ Oral Health and LTC Strategy. The goal was to find resources that provided the necessary education/training at all levels (staff, family, resident) and that included community feedback and participation.

In 2011, the SOHP and SOHC endorsed the use and adaptation of Australia’s national program entitled, Better Oral Health in Residential Care. With the endorsement by the SOHP and SOHC, a licensing agreement was signed 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. It has been a community development and capacity building project from the onset. Partners and stakeholders have been supportive of the need to improve oral health in LTC homes.

The OHC is responsible for assessments and training LTC home staff using the Better Oral Health in Long Term Care – Best Practice Standards for Saskatchewan. The training occurred at Parkridge Centre in 2014. It was provided by dental health educators of the Saskatoon Health Region – Population and Public Health Oral Health Program. Daily oral care for Parkridge Centre residents is now occurring in all neighbourhoods. The OHC continues to mentor and support staff to provide daily oral care.

In addition, dental staff in all health regions have been orientated to Better Oral Health in Long Term Care – Best Practice Standards for Saskatchewan. Several health regions and oral health professionals are showing interest in providing dental services in LTC and personal care homes. This includes the implementation of daily oral care following the Better Oral Health in Long Term Care – Best Practice Standards for Saskatchewan.

Currently, the Better Oral Health in Long Term Care – Best Practice Standards for Saskatchewan is being implemented at Sherbrooke Community Centre and Sunnyside Nursing Home in the Saskatoon Health Region. In LTC homes now following Better Oral Health in Long Term Care – Best Practice Standards for Saskatchewan, residents’ oral health has significantly improved. Residents have clean teeth, fresh breath, and are able to chew well and smile. This has improved their self-esteem and quality of live. Residents who have accessed dental treatment on-site are free of oral discomfort, pain, and infection.

In September 2016, the SOHC and SOHP presented the report -through slides and video-to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health did state that they were very impressed with the presentation and level of information. The Ministry of Health was motivated and interested in keeping the momentum going on this work. They will be looking for opportunities to share the strategy/training with other Directors of Care in all health regions.

The SOHC and SOHP will continue to work collaboratively with LTC homes, policy makers and government to implement the model for all Saskatchewan LTC homes. Saskatchewan seniors and LTC residents need and deserve a healthy mouth to have quality of life.

* The Saskatchewan Oral Health Coalition was originally the Saskatoon Oral Health Coalition until 2012. SOHC 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.

** SOHP is a group that represents legislated oral health associations including the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan, Denturists Society of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Dental Assistants’ Association, Saskatchewan Dental Hygienists’ Association, and Saskatchewan Dental Therapists Association)

The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center (OHRC) is pleased to announce Promoting Oral Health During Pregnancy: Update on Activities February 2016. This document is the fourth in a series of OHRC updates to highlight national, state, and local activities that promote oral health during pregnancy that have taken place since the release of Oral Health Care During Pregnancy: A National Consensus Statement in 2012.

Recently, states and jurisdictions identified national performance measures as part of the Title V maternal and child health block grant process. National performance measure 13A, dental visit during pregnancy, aligns with the consensus statement. This update highlights key strategies in the areas of partnership and collaboration, education and training, and access to care from the 29 states and jurisdictions that selected NPM 13A. Use this update for ideas about how to partner with these or other entities to help achieve progress toward access goals. The update concludes with an annotated list of resources.

The document is available at http://mchoralhealth.org/PDFs/OralHealthPregnancyUpdate_2_2016.pdf.


Find the consensus statement and related resources (including previous updates, the 2-page consumer handout in several languages, the pharmacological table, and an e-book format of the consensus statement) at http://mchoralhealth.org/materials/consensus_statement.php.


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Link to Website
Vaping Daily works towards decreasing risks of oral health problems. Read more here 

Quit Smoking Community is a virtual community that offers support and information for those trying to kick the deadliest habit in the world.

Their vision for Quit Smoking Community is to provide a hub where visitors can access information regarding quitting smoking, as well as download resources and tools to help them begin and complete their quit journey.  

Link to Website 



FDI World Dental Federation serves as the principal representative body for more than one million dentists worldwide, developing health policy and continuing education programmes, speaking as a unified voice for dentistry in international advocacy and supporting member associations in global oral health promotion activities.

Their website http://www.fdiworlddental.org/

See FDI chairside guide with a focus on caries prevention here.

The Children's Oral Health Initiative (COHI) was developed as a means to address the disparity between the oral health of First Nations and Inuit and that of the general Canadian population. COHI was launched on a test basis in Fall 2004.

COHI focuses on the prevention of dental disease and promotion of good oral health practices. The goal of COHI is to shift the emphasis from a primarily treatment based approach to a more balanced prevention and treatment focus. The initial focus for oral health promotion will be directed at three target groups:

  • pregnant women and primary caregivers;
  • pre-school children, 0-4 years of age; and
  • school children, 5-7 years of age.

Health Canada expects that the COHI, once fully implemented in subsequent years, will result in significant improvement of the oral health in First Nations and Inuit.

Read more here


  • Established in 2003 under the umbrella of the Northern Health Strategy
  • Initially composed of dental professionals in both Northern Provincial and First Nations health jurisdictions along with the College of Dentistry at the University of Saskatchewan and university of Manitoba
  • Initial goals were to work together to improve oral health and access to oral health services utilizing a population health approach
  • Early accomplishments included:
    • Partnerships with the Colleges of Dentistry at the Universities of Saskatchewan and Manitoba
    • Continuing Educations sessions to enable professionals to practice at the cutting edge
    • Standardized health promotion messaging and resources
    • Best Practice Standards promoted
    • Knowledge Transfer to communities and allied health professions
    • Development and implementation of standardized paper chart system
    • Exploration of e-record dental chart system
    • Development of the Oral Health Risk Assessment Tool
    • Revision of Health Canada’s Children’s Oral Health Initiative Fluoride Varnish training manuals and resources
    • Development of Anticipatory Guidance document and complementary teaching presentation
    • Facilitated standardized Infection Control Procedures through training
    • Worked with the Northern Healthy Eating Team to promote healthy eating through collaboration with the schools and Maternal-Child teams


  • Be a resource for dental public health at the local, regional, provincial, and national levels
  • Work as an inter-jurisdictional team to develop and implement best practices which will improve oral and systemic health outcomes of Northern Saskatchewan residents
  • Support membership diversity to ensure inter-professional and inter-jurisdictional representation


Over time the NOHWG has evolved principles that guide their action:

  • Utilization of the Continuum of Care in Population Health that involves promotion, prevention, and treatment
  • Development of a Team that is inclusive, cooperative, collaborative, interprofessional and interjurisdictional, prizes professionalism and ethics, as well as works through partnership and consensus in a manner that ensures:
    • A holistic perspective
    • Cultural appropriateness
    • Client centeredness
    • Continuous Quality Improvement by following Best Practice Standards
    • Respect for Jurisdictional Authority with our populations
    • Resource sharing


As this Working Group evolved, their activities coalesced in three areas:

  1. Improving Service Delivery
    • Implementing a Sugar Strategy in collaboration with the Northern Healthy Eating Team in all schools and communities. The NOHWG worked to develop awareness activities as well as helped with the alignment with the Saskatchewan Education’s Health Curriculum
    • Aligned messaging with that of the Canadian Dental Association, Canadian Association of Public Health Dentistry, Canadian Pediatric Association, Canadian Chief Dental Health Officer, the Canadian Oral Health Framework, the recommendations of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Oral Health Panel’s document Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable People Living in Canada (2014) and their identification of the 5 A’s of vulnerability (availability, accessibility, affordability, accommodation, and acceptability)
    • Worked interprofessionally with the Faculties of Nursing, Medicine, and Dentistry at the University of Saskatchewan to ensure that the same messaging was conveyed to their students and colleagues
    • Encouraging First Dental Visit and the establishment of a Dental Home before one year of age
    • Open Cup Initiative which encourages use of small cups rather than sippy cups as infants transition from breast to cup
    • Worked collaboratively and interprofessionally to standardize Prenatal Classes
  2. Increasing Access to Care
    • Established working relationships with Health Promotion, Nutrition, Population Health, Schools, Northern School Boards, Communities, Nursing, Speech Language Pathologists, Kids First Program, Head Start Program, Home Care, Indian Child Family Services, and the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan to increase access by removing barriers.
    • Provision of Interprofessional Workshops in Schools and Communities through the Health Eating Team and Maternal Child Programs
    • Advocated for the re-establishment of a School of Dental Therapy by working as members of NITHA’s Oral Health Working Group
    • Collaborated to provide a multi-day Oral Health Clinic to graduates of La Loche High School in the late spring of 2016 - all oral health services were free of charge to these students, all materials were donated, and students were presented with gifts that would help them to maintain good oral health
  3. Vehicle for Continuing Education for Licensing Bodies
    • Provided opportunities for skills develop and update through the College of Dentistry at the University of Saskatchewan in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Dental Therapists Association on numerous topics including:
    • Provided training for Fluoride Varnishing
    • Facilitated continuing education for oral health professionals in the North

The NOHWG would like to thank CAPHD for the 2016 Merit Award received at the National Conference in September 2016 in Edmonton. [This award recognizes the efforts of groups and individuals, in improving the oral health of all Canadians. These efforts can include, but are not limited to, administrative work, interprofessional education, and health promotion].

Chair of the NOHWG, Penny Griffith from the Athabasca Health Authority, accepted the award on behalf of the group.

The End of the Saskatchewan Health Dental Plan – June, 1987

June 11, 2017 marks the 30 th anniversary of the announcement of the end of the Saskatchewan Health Dental Plan (SHDP).

On June 11, 1987, over 420 SHDP employees were ushered into meeting rooms in cities and towns throughout Saskatchewan. They were informed that effective June 30, 1987, the SHDP was cut, and would be fully dismantled by August 31, 1987. The majority of the employees were women, and they were issued their “pink slips” that day. It was devastatingly painful.

To mark the 30 th anniversary of the end of the SHDP, the SOHC will place on their website:

  • All of the SHDP annual reports, 1975 – 1987
  • Scientific articles related to evaluations of the SHDP
  • Grey literature/thesis’ written by various individuals

In addition, June 30, 2017 marks the 6 th anniversary of the closure of the National School of Dental Therapy in Prince Albert. Since its’ closure in June 2011, many groups and individuals have worked tirelessly to find innovative ways to train dental therapists for Saskatchewan and Canada

To honour this anniversary, the SOHC will place on its’ website scientific articles related to dental therapists and the future of Dental Therapy.

If anyone has articles or information to contribute, please forward it to our administrative coordinator, at sohcadmin@saskohc.ca


Smiles for Life produces educational resources to ensure the integration of oral health and primary care. There is an online teaching curriculum and online Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Education (CME/CE modules) around oral health for non-dental practitioners, out of the USA.

The Smiles for Life curriculum consists of eight 45-minute modules covering core areas of oral health relevant to health professionals. User competencies are measured through assessments at course completion. Users must score an 80% or higher to receive credit for each course.

The Public Health, Niagara Region, Ontario has started to Canadianize the modules! One module has been completed in its Canadian version so far, Child Oral Health.

Link to Website

Canada’s ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation of Canada is dedicated to raising awareness of one of the most prevalent chronic childhood illnesses: paediatric dental disease, facilitating the delivery of comprehensive oral health services and eliminating this preventable disease from future generations. With a growing Affiliate Network of exemplary non-profit community programs, Kids Club, and professional and student service programs, Canada’s ToothFairy is building a powerful, united effort to eliminate tooth decay and protect the smiles of our most vulnerable children.

Link to website

America’s ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation® is dedicated to eliminating children’s pain and suffering from pediatric dental disease and improving quality of life for at-risk children. As the Educator of children and families, Preventer of disease, and Protector of our most vulnerable children, America’s ToothFairy drives systems change by delivering proven programs and resources that expand access to care and education, improve oral health literacy, and promote overall wellness.

Link to website

Summary of Community Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends schoolbased programs to deliver dental sealants and prevent dental caries (tooth decay) among children

Major Findings

Programs that delivered sealants within school settings increased the proportion of students who received sealants and decreased occurrence of tooth decay.

● Implementing a sealant delivery program led to a 26 percentage point increase in the number of students who received sealants. Greater increases were seen among students from low-income families.

● Students who received dental sealants had a median of 50% fewer cavities up to four years later compared with students who did not receive sealants.

A review of the economic evidence showed the benefits of school sealant programs exceeded the costs when they were implemented in schools with large numbers of students at high risk for cavities. 

What are School-Based Dental Sealant Delivery Programs?

Dental sealants are clear or opaque plastic materials applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to prevent dental caries. In this review, dental sealants reduced dental caries by a median of 81% at two year follow-up.

School-based programs provide dental sealants to students onsite at schools using portable dental equipment, or offsite in dental clinics. Programs may target entire schools in low income neighborhoods or individuals within a school, based on their risk for tooth decay.

Dental caries or cavities, more commonly known as tooth decay, are caused by a breakdown of the tooth enamel. This breakdown is the result of bacteria on teeth that break down foods and produce acid that destroys tooth enamel and results in tooth decay.

● Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions among children in the United States.¹

● About 20% of children between 5 to 11 years of age have at least one untreated decayed tooth.²

● The percentage of children and adolescents with untreated tooth decay is twice as high for those from low-income families (25%) compared with children from higher-income households (11%).² 

¹Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Children's Oral Health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/childrens-oral-health/index.html.

²Dye BA, Xianfen L, Beltrán-Aguilar ED. Selected Oral Health Indicators in the United States 2005–2008. NCHS Data Brief, no. 96. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012.

Summary of Evidence and Task Force Finding
CDC, School-Based Dental Sealant Programs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Community Living (ACL), and Office on Women's Health (OWH) have launched their first website focused on helping communities to promote the oral health of older adults.

Users will be able to find nearly 200 community-based oral health programs through the site's searchable database, as well as an Oral Health Guide designed to help local organizations start or enhance their own programs.

The need for maintaining good oral health and getting regular check-ups is widely recognized, but there are often large gaps in availability and accessibility of services for older adults, particularly for older women given their longevity and economic resources. Through this new resource, ACL and OWH aim to help close those gaps and assist communities, governments, and other organizations in improving access to high quality oral health care for older adults. 

The searchable database can help communities identify an ideal program for replication or enhancement based on diverse search criteria. A community considering the start of its own mobile dental unit, for example, could search for existing programs that fit this criterion and learn more about this type of program.

The accompanying Oral Health Guide can further assist communities in launching or enhancing their own program. Key tips, case studies, external resources, and other sources of support are included in the Oral Health Guide. For communities that already have an oral health program in place for older adults, the Oral Health Guide can assist with expansion or enhancement.

Both the database and Oral Health Guide are now available at their website.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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 compliance with administrative policies and clinical practice infection prevention and control recommendations. 

Link to Website

Public Health Ontario launched “Oral Health Snapshot”, a new interactive data tool. This tool will help you make sense of trends in behaviours and outcomes related to oral health in your region. This will help inform public health decision-making and planning. Snapshots is a suite of tools using maps, charts and tables to help you compare public health unit and provincial data, and identify trends over time. Oral Health Snapshot uses data from the Canadian Community Health Survey, which includes self-reported data for individuals aged 12 and older. This provides access to statistics and information related to oral health for Ontario and its 36 public health units.

Download the user guide to learn how to navigate snapshots

Link to website

The CVC is an exciting tool that aims to provide relevant, reliable, local information and evidence to inform planning, decision-making and policy for Saskatoon and the surrounding community. CVC can:

  • Quickly and easily access local community level data
  • Analyze data through tables, charts and maps
  • Access CommunityViews about our community
  • Collaborate on important community issues

Link to website

The Canadian Oral Health Framework 2013-18 (COHF) is the second national oral health Framework produced by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Dental Working Group. It follows The Canadian Oral Health Strategy (COHS), 2005-10 during which time considerable progress was made and significant goals accomplished – most notably the creation of the Office of the Chief Dental Officer, a national report on oral health status (Canadian Health Measures Survey) and coordination of national recommendations for preventive interventions (e.g. water fluoridation, toothpaste use, fluoriderinses).

Link to document

Saskatchewan Dentist Directory

The College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan website is a good source for searching dentists in Saskatchewan.

You can search for dentist by:

Oral health is an important contributor to overall health and well-being, and thus needs to be properly defined, assessed, managed and promoted. However, an understanding of what is meant by, and the implications of, oral health may differ among different stakeholders.

FDI's definition is an attempt to propose a universally applicable and acceptable definition of oral health to:

  • more clearly position oral health within health
  • demonstrate that oral health does not occur in isolation, but is an important part of overall health and well-being
  • raise awareness of the different dimensions of oral health as a dynamic construct and
  • empower patients by acknowledging how individual’s values, perceptions and expectations impact oral health.
  • Importantly, this definition lays the foundation for the future development of standardized assessment and measurement tools.

Source: http://www.fdiworlddental.org/oral-health/vision-2020/fdis-definition-of-oral-health

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