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Older Americans Not Receiving the Oral Health Care They Need

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) September 03, 2013

Ten thousand adults reach retirement age in the United States every day, but only two percent retain dental benefits. As older adults continue to age, other health problems complicate oral care, exacerbating already existing oral health issues, stretching already small budgets, and often making just getting to a dentist difficult. For those who end up in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, regular dental care is even harder to come by, with few facilities in the country prioritizing oral health for their residents.

Results from a new public opinion survey commissioned by Oral Health America (OHA) and sponsored by Oral Healthcare Can't Wait, 3M ESPE, and Crest + OralB give further evidence to what is becoming a crisis for America's older adult population. According to the survey, almost half of older adults with a household income of $35,000 or less have not been to the dentist in the past two years. In addition, 35 percent of low-income older adults have gone four years or more between dental visits. These troubling statistics are why OHA is focusing on older adults during its fourth annual Fall for Smiles® campaign, which encourages all Americans to maintain good oral health by brushing and flossing, regular dental visits, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco.

“Extensive research has shown us that oral health is inextricably tied to overall health, making it even more important for older adults to maintain a healthy mouth," said OHA President and CEO Beth Truett. "With this year's Fall for Smiles campaign, we hope to highlight the emerging crisis caused by lack of dental care for seniors and start a movement that changes the perception that your oral health naturally fails as you age."

According to the survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, over half of those who do not visit the dentist on a regular basis cite financial reasons or a lack of dental insurance. We cannot continue to let economics determine the oral health of our aging population. The time has come to educate Americans about the importance of oral health and encourage lawmakers to support oral health initiatives.

"The oral health of the nation's older adults has been ignored for too long, and we are proud to support OHA's quest to bring attention to this important issue through the Fall for Smiles campaign," said R. Ivan Lugo, DMD, MBA, Oral Care Professional and Scientific Relations, Regional Manager for North America and Puerto Rico, Procter & Gamble. "Through its relationships with dental associations and manufacturers across the country and the great work of Fall for Smiles, OHA is truly living their mission of connecting communities with resources."

The Fall for Smiles webpage,, features many resources and materials Americans of all ages and economic backgrounds can use to participate in the campaign and help spread the message of the importance of oral health. These materials include oral health tip sheets for kids and older adults, template press releases, web buttons, suggested social media language, and activities for families.

Fall for Smiles is generously sponsored by: 3M ESPE, the American Association of Dental Office Mangers, Atlantic Precious Metal Refining, Crest + OralB, DentaQuest, Denticator, the Hispanic Dental Association, Hu-Friedy, Midmark, the National Dental Association, Oral Healthcare Can't Wait, OSAP-Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention, Patterson Dental, and Trident.

About Oral Health America
OHA’s mission is to change lives by connecting communities with resources to increase access to oral health care, education and advocacy for all Americans, especially those most vulnerable. For more information about Oral Health America, please visit

About Procter & Gamble
P&G serves approximately 4.4 billion people around the world with its brands. The Company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers®, Tide®, Ariel®, Always®, Whisper®, Pantene®, Mach3®, Bounty®, Dawn®, Fairy®, Gain®, Charmin®, Downy®, Lenor®, Iams®, Crest®, Oral-B®, Duracell®, Olay®, Head & Shoulders®, Wella®, Gillette®, Braun®, Fusion®, Ace®, Febreze®, Ambi Pur®, SK-II®, and Vicks®. The P&G community includes operations in about 80 countries worldwide. Please visit for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands.

About Crest
A trusted leader in oral health, Crest was the first oral care brand to secure the ADA Seal of Acceptance for a clinically proven fluoride toothpaste. Since first introducing fluoride toothpaste 54 years ago, it is estimated that Crest has helped prevent more than half a billion cavities in the United States. Headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, Crest is owned and distributed by Procter & Gamble.

About Oral-B
Oral-B is the worldwide leader in the over $5 billion brushing market. Part of the Procter & Gamble Company, the brand includes manual and power toothbrushes for children and adults, oral irrigators and interdental products, such as dental floss. Oral-B toothbrushes are used by more dentists in the world than any other brand.

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