Smiles for Seniors

Kathy Woodard is the Director of Public Service at the Ohio Dental Association (ODA) as well as Director of the ODA Foundation.  Kathy Kne is an RN/BSN with many years of experience in long-term care and geriatrics.  Together, with Dr. Marsha Pyle, former head of the geriatric dentistry department at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, and the other members of the ODA’s Council on Access to Care and Public Service, they developed Smiles for Seniors in 2003.  Funded in part by a grant from the American Dental Association Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline, the program is an oral health resource for semi-dependent older adults and their caregivers in home care or skilled nursing home environments.

Smiles for Seniors is a simple, friendly and effective guide to oral health care in older age.  The program provides training on how to educate families and caregivers about the importance of daily oral hygiene and preventive care.  This training program includes PowerPoint slides, a booklet of information on common oral health complications in older age, as well as videos. It is available on CD-ROM or in binder/VHS format.

Having worked for many years both in hospitals and nursing homes, Kathy Kne saw the need for an educational oral health guide.  The guide was developed with the specific needs of older adults and caregivers in mind.  As Kathy Kne says, Smiles for Seniors had to be “concise yet comprehensive, factual but not boring, and informative in ways that would be beneficial to both the residents [of long-term care facilities] and the caregivers.”

The Smiles for Seniors program is intentionally NOT copyrighted so that anyone can obtain and use the materials.  Since 2004, more than 1,000 copies have been distributed to all corners of the U.S.  The material has even been recently translated to Turkish, and used internationally.  There is no charge for the materials, but there is a $10 shipping and handling fee to cover ODA’s costs. To learn more or order the program, visit

Left, Ben Kwok and Lauren Patterson, students at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, present Smiles for Seniors to the staff at the Woodlands of Columbus assisted living facility.

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