DentaQuest Foundation grant

Oct. 4, 2010
A $149,000 grant will help develop the third edition of comprehensive oral health curriculum.

BOSTON, Massachusetts--The DentaQuest Foundation has made an investment in primary care clinicians to help promote optimal oral health for all ages.

The foundation has awarded $149,000 to the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Group on Oral Health to develop the third edition of Smiles for Life—a comprehensive oral health curriculum.

With the newly released third edition of Smiles for Life, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine offers all of its oral health educational resources and course material online at

Individual physicians, pediatricians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, students, and other clinicians can access the curriculum and learn on their time and at their pace.

Smiles for Life was initially developed in 2005 to provide educational resources to enhance the role of physicians training in Family Medicine residency programs in the promotion of oral health.

A second edition, released in July 2008, added modules on fluoride varnish and oral health in pregnancy. Its focus was expanded to include all primary care clinicians including physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

Today, Smiles for Life is a widely used oral health curriculum for medical clinicians.

The third edition of Smiles for Life, released in June 2010, continues the broad focus on primary care clinicians while adding opportunities for individual learners through interactive online learning.

“Educating medical clinicians is important because dental disease is nearly 100% preventable with early diagnosis and intervention,” said Dr. Alan B. Douglass, family practice physician in Middletown, Conn., and chair of the Society’s Group on Oral Health.

"The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Group on Oral Health is very excited to be able to share this state-of- the-art, interactive curriculum with academicians and practitioners alike for free, thanks to this partnership between the Group on Oral Health and the DentaQuest Foundation."

The curriculum, which is also available in a presentation format, can be implemented in an academic setting and includes a comprehensive set of educational objectives based on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competencies, test questions, resources for further learning, oral health Web links, an implementation guide, and detailed outlines of the curriculum components.

“Primary care visits are a natural opportunity to deliver important preventive oral health education and early intervention,” said Ralph Fuccillo, DentaQuest Foundation president.

“Because of this oral health curriculum, increasing numbers of physicians are educating patients on cleaning teeth and gums and advising parents on the dangers of allowing cavity-causing bacteria to linger in their children’s mouth, particularly over night when babies are put to bed with bottles. Pediatricians and family physicians are applying fluoride varnishes to children’s teeth, and dentists are being added to the list of specialists consulted as needed. This essential guidance helps young families understand that good oral health is important throughout the lifecycle.”

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