GSK and ADA spearhead oral health initiative

SAN FRANCISCO Recognizing the associations between oral health and overall health, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, the American Dental Association and the ADA Foundation have introduced a new initiative targeting oral health of older Americans.

The program, dubbed OralLongevity, provides older adults, their families, caregivers and dental professionals with education and other free resources to boost the awareness and need for better oral health.

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more adults are keeping their natural teeth longer well beyond the age of 65. However, changes in physical and mental functions could hamper some older adults from taking proper care of their teeth and gums, increasing the risk of dental disease that could complicate other health conditions.

To help inform consumers, the Web site offers free, downloadable dental tips. Consumers also can download at www.orallongevity.ada.org the free OralLongevity DVD and brochure that was unveiled to nearly 50,000 dental professionals attending the ADA’s 148th Annual Session.

Dental problems can cause pain and suffering as well as difficulty in speaking, chewing and swallowing. Older adults can also suffer from dry mouth, resulting from certain medications used to treat other health conditions. Complications associated with medical conditions can impact the ability to maintain good oral health.

“For example, dry mouth and sensitive teeth can be managed and relieved through dental care, behavioral changes and over-the-counter products,” stated Dr. Richard Price, ADA consumer advisor and retired dentist. “The dentist is a key part of your health care team to advise you on individual oral health needs as you age.”