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Recent research suggests ties between poor oral health and diabetes, stroke, heart disease, lung disease and other serious health issues (CDC). In addition, In 2013, an estimated $111 billion was spent on dental services in the United States. Older adults spend more on dental care than any other age group, averaging $800 per individual. (American Dental Association).

Cost-effectiveness studies have shown that individuals with chronic diseases, like diabetes and cardiac disease, who receive preventative dental care spend less on their overall health care than individuals with the same conditions who did not receive preventative dental care¹.

Research focused on oral health issues and their co-factors, including diabetes and other chronic conditions, can create opportunities for new clinical interventions. Public health initiatives are also crucial to address significant gaps in access to dental coverage and oral health care. More research, both to prevent and treat oral health conditions  and to identify interventions that improve access, can significantly improve health and quality of life for older Americans.

Research!America has developed a Fact Sheet, Oral Health in Older Adults, which outlines the problem, related costs, impact on overall health and solutions to improved oral health. Access the fact sheet here.

The Wisdom Tooth Project

Oral Health America (OHA), a leading advocacy organization working to make oral health disease a part of our nation’s past, not its future, is translating research into action through its Wisdom Tooth Project.

This multi-faceted initiative aims to connect older Americans with the information and care they need to confront oral health challenges. As part of this initiative, OHA has developed a web portal – – tailored to the specific needs of older adults and caregivers. This user-friendly portal connects to education and access to care resources. These efforts help generate new knowledge about the oral health of older Americans and aim for new strategic initiatives designed to end access barriers and improve care. Learn more.


  1. SLADE, G.D. ET. AL. J DENTAL RES, 2014; 93(10): 959-965.