Smiles for Life National Oral Health Curriculum: Module 8. Geriatric Oral Health

Publication ID Published Version
9206 August 7, 2012 8


Smiles for Life Module 8, Geriatric Oral Health, covers topics for health care providers who take care of older adult patients. The module covers a range of topics including oral health assessment, common oral diseases such as caries, periodontitis, and oral cancer, oral-systemic links (diabetes, arthritis, and dementia to name a few), nursing home and caregiver issues, and elder abuse as it pertains to oral health.

Smiles for Life: A National Oral Health Curriculum is a product of the Group on Oral Health of The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and endorsed by, among others, the American Academy of Family Physicians. Smiles for Life is the nation’s most comprehensive and widely used oral health curriculum designed for primary care clinicians. The 8 module course covers the relationship of oral to systemic health, child oral health, adult and geriatric oral health, dental emergencies, oral health in pregnancy, fluoride varnish, and the oral examination.

The complete curriculum is web-based and is designed as an interactive educational tool for both individuals and groups from all aspects of the health care profession. It includes interactive online courses and clinical cases for individual and small group education, downloadable PowerPoint modules suitable for larger group presentations, instructional videos, and patient education materials. Free access to all materials is available at

The Smiles for Life (SFL) Curriculum including Module 1 The Relationship of Oral to Systemic Health has been endorsed by:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Society of Teachers of Family Medicine
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Physician Assistant Education Association
  • Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health
  • American Association of Public Health Dentistry
  • Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association

The SFL Curriculum has been downloaded from our website more than 140,000 times ( including:

  • 58,000 courses
  • 77,000 supplements
  • 11,000 online courses completed

The SFL Curriculum is:

  • The core oral health curriculum used in 30+ medical schools.
  • Utilized in most Family Medicine residency programs nationwide.
  • Core curriculum for National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health.

The SFL curriculum was awarded the Society of Teachers in Family Medicine (STFM) Innovative Program Award honoring excellence in development of an educational program in 2007 and has received Letters of Commendation from the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) Commission on Education and from Raymond F. Gist, D.D.S., president of the American Dental Association (ADA) , on behalf of the Council on Access, Prevention, and Interprofessional Relations (CAPIR) and the ADA.

Module 8, Geriatric Oral Health, is the most recently developed of the 8 modules, released in September 2011. This module was developed using the expertise of medical, dental, physician assistant, and advance practice nursing educators from across the country which serves as a model for interprofessional collaboration and training. As such, Module 8, Geriatric Oral Health rigorously adheres to the goal of providing a curriculum that enhances the role of the primary care clinician in the promotion of oral health for the elderly through the use of high quality educational resources.


Wrightson A, Douglass A, Stein P, Clark M, Deutchman M, Douglass J, Gonsalves W, Maier R, Quinonez R, Silk H, Tysinger J. Smiles for Life National Oral Health Curriculum: Module 8. Geriatric Oral Health. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2012. Available from:

Contains time-sensitive information that will likely be inaccurate, obsolete, or irrelevant by June 15, 2015

Contains Information Suitable for Patient Education

Educational Objectives

  1. To describe how socioeconomic issues affect oral health.
  2. To complete an accurate oral assessment of elderly patients.
  3. To identify and manage common oral conditions in the elderly.
  4. To discuss common oral effects of medications.
  5. To implement effective oral preventive measures for the elderly and their caregivers.
  6. To recognize and describe the elements of effective medical-dental collaboration.


  • Mouth Neoplasms, Periodontitis, Root Caries, Oral-Systemic Links, Aging, Elderly, Building Oral Health Capacity (BOHC) Collection


  • Medical
    • Family Medicine
      • Geriatric Medicine
    • Internal Medicine
  • Dental
    • Geriatrics
    • Preventive Dentistry


  • Interpersonal & Communication Skills
  • Knowledge for Practice
  • Patient Care
  • Practice-based Learning & Improvement
  • Systems-based Practice

Professional Interest

  • Curriculum Development/Evaluation
  • Health Education
  • Oral Health

Instructional Methods

  • Independent Learning
  • Lecture

Organ Systems

  • Gastrointestinal system

Academic Focus

  • Clinical Sciences
    • Clinical Exam
    • Clinical Skills/Doctoring

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Allied Dental Student
    • Dental Student
    • Medical Student


  • Presentation

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ISSN 2374-8265