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Oral Health is not just lip service
Posted Friday, June 26, 2009 9:00 AM
Above: Casey Hein, Project Director, Oral Systemic Curriculum Development

The University of Manitoba is about to launch a new online resource to bridge a major gap in oral health information among Canadian health care professionals.

AdvancingIn Oral Health, a vehicle to provide continuing oral health education to over 72,000 Canadian health professionals through courses such as strategies for preventative care and integrative practice, will go live in September. It will improve quality of care and patient health in Canada.

A recent survey indicates that 85 per cent of health professionals practicing in Canada lack information on oral health and its link to overall patient health. The online survey of over 400 Canadian physicians, pharmacists and allied health professionals revealed several stunning gaps in their oral health knowledge relative to patient care: While 60 per cent of Canadian health professionals reported speaking to patients about oral health, over 85 per cent said they did not feel they had enough information on oral-systemic links. But over 90 per cent said they would recommend oral health strategies to their patients if they knew what the appropriate treatments were.

“These results confirm what we have thought to be the case for some time now,” says Casey Hein, Project Director, Oral Systemic Curriculum Development. “All health-care practitioners are starting to understand that the link between oral and whole body health is a reality and that oral health strategies can have a positive impact on overall patient care.”

Initial continuing education courses will launch in September 2009. Course content will focus on practical tools and resources to assist all health professionals with the proactive management of Canadians’ oral health needs.

“Cavities and gum disease can be painful and lead to serious infections, but they may also contribute to many serious conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, respiratory diseases and perhaps heart disease and low birth rate (PLBW) babies,” says Dr. Hubert Benitez, Director, Continuing Dental Education and Course Director, Dental Practice Management at the University of Manitoba. “We must not only educate oral healthcare providers in the delivery of dental services, but also in understanding the importance of oral health to overall health.”

AdvancingIn Oral Health (www.AdvancingIn.com) is a partnership between the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Dentistry and mdBriefCase, AdvancingIn and rxBriefCase.

“We are delighted to partner with the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Dentistry on this essential initiative,” says Cynthia Hastings-James, President of rxBriefCase. “The U of M is an internationally recognized leader in the area of dental health and the oral-systemic link in particular launching the world’s first International Centre for Oral-Systemic Health in January of 2008. They understand the importance of expanding continuing education beyond just dental health professionals. We’ve received many requests for dental health programming and given the evidence of the oral-systemic link, this is the next logical step for us.”

For more information, contact:
Sean Moore
Communications Officer
Marketing Communications Office
Phone: (204) 474-7963