The Commonwealth's High-Risk Senior Population: Results and Recommendations from a 2009 Statewide Oral Health Assessment succinctly describes the oral heath needs of two senior populations… residents age 60 and older residing in licensed long-term care facilities and community residents who attend state-subsidized meal programs. The report also provides an overview of the implications poor oral health has on general health and the lack of adequate access to oral health care services some seniors are experiencing.

The report recommends the integration of oral health into the overall health care of these vulnerable seniors, promoting the utilization of medical professionals to enable the early identification of oral diseases and dental professionals, such as the public health dental hygienist, to increase access, as well as the establishment of recommendations, guidelines and policies to improve the oral health of all seniors.

A Report on the Commonwealth's Dental Hygiene Workforce: Results and Recommendations from a 2007 Statewide Survey, utilizing data from a 2007 dental hygiene workforce survey conducted during licensure renewal, highlights the state's dental hygiene workforce as educated oral health professionals, who are experienced and yet, underutilized in addressing the oral health crisis in the Commonwealth.

The Report recommends approaches that utilize the dental hygiene workforce to assist in reducing oral health disparities among vulnerable population groups including the low income, some minority groups, seniors, the chronically ill and the developmentally disabled.

This information is provided by the Oral Health within the Department of Public Health.