Incorporating an Oral Health Curriculum in a Nursing Program

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2019-09-23
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Kihara, Leanne
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Daub, Katharyn
Chino-Kelly, Michelle
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Oral health is an essential but often forgotten health care need. Oral health disparities are more prevalent in ethnic minorities, low income, and lower socioeconomic status populations. In most cases, oral health problems are not a priority until it becomes emergent. Barriers to receiving dental services are the cost of preventive care and treatment, the limited number of dental providers, and a lack of access to dental care. Nontraditional strategies are needed to address the growing health concerns that poor dental health create and explore different avenues in delivering dental services. In reviewing the literature, several initiatives were explored. Building inter-professional collaborations between medical and dental providers can help to identify dental concerns and make appropriate referrals earlier. A consideration of training non-dental healthcare professionals to provide oral health preventative services would help to fill the gap of lack in dental services. Adding evidence based oral health curricula to nursing schools would increase the oral health knowledge and skills of nurses to provide oral health preventive services that can decrease dental caries and improve overall health. The purpose of this pilot project was to increase oral health knowledge and skills of nursing students by incorporating an oral health curriculum into undergraduate and graduate-level nursing programs. Ten participants agreed to complete eight oral health modules that included a pre/posttest and a survey, during the Spring semester. The data analysis revealed an increase in all participants’ oral health knowledge. Discussion of the results with implications for nursing practice and future recommendations for implementation are proposed.
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oral health, health care, Dental care, Nursing
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59
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