ACE.S triptych

Developing Interprofessional Education and Practice in Oral Health

Oral Health promotion for older adults requires interprofessional communication, collaboration, and teamwork.

Developing Interprofessional Education and Practice in Oral Health

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Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Develop awareness of interprofessional competencies.  
  • Practice interprofessional communication and collaboration.

Learner Prework

This teaching strategy will incorporate the ACE.S Essential Nursing Actions: Assess Function and Expectations, Coordinate and Manage Care, and Make Situational Decisions. The strategy utilizes the Smiles for Life curriculum from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. Access the Smiles for Life Curriculum at

It is important to review the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) Core Competencies Revision 2021-2023. Retrieved from

Become familiar with Oral Health Patient FACTS. These pamphlets from the American College of Physicians & the Oral Health Nursing Education and Practice Program are designed to improve patients’ oral health literacy by providing user-friendly, easy-to-understand information about how oral health and overall health are connected. Download guides (which are available in English and Spanish) at

Suggested Learning Activities

The following teaching strategies are designed to be completed by interprofessional groups: NP = nurse practitioner, RD = registered dietician, DH = dental hygienist, SW = social worker.

Interactive Games 

Visit the Smiles for Life website and choose interactive games/test your knowledge on one Module (1, 7, or 8). This resource was created to be used by an individual or in a classroom setting as pretest or to review knowledge following course completion. 

Students will form interprofessional teams (NP, RD, DH, and SW) with student from each profession on each team. Each team will work together to come up with one answer to each question. The team with the most correct answers wins. It is important for students to review the essential roles of each professional in order to consider interprofessional approaches.

Develop Interprofessional Oral Health Education “Speed Dating” Presentation for Senior Center

Student teams (NP, RD, DH, SW) or teams of nursing students will be at separate tables at the senior center. Teams will choose one of the Oral Health Patient Facts and engage seniors in a health literacy discussion about their oral health. Each student group will present one topic. Seniors, divided into groups, will spend 10 minutes at each table presentation and discussion.

Oral Health and You (Spanish version)

Oral Health and Diabetes (Spanish version)

Oral Health and Older Adults (Spanish version)

Oral Health and HPV (Spanish version)

Develop Nutrition Education Program 

Following health literacy principles, students (RN, RD, DH) or nursing student teams will develop an evidence-based nutrition and oral health education program for older adults in collaboration with dental hygiene students and nutrition students. This program will be presented in the senior center.

Download Smiles for Life Module 8 – Geriatric Oral Health.

See also Zhu, Y., & Hollis, J. H. (2014). Tooth loss and its association with dietary intake and diet quality in American adults. Journal of Dentistry, 42(11), 1428–35. Retrieved from

Suggested Reading

Hunt, R. (2012). Health promotion and disease and injury prevention for older adults. Introduction to Community-Based Nursing. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Aging Publications 
The above link provides information and statistics regarding chronic disease and wellbeing of older adults. 

Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being (Older Americans 2010) provides a comprehensive picture of our older population’s health and well-being. It is the fifth chartbook prepared by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics (Forum). 

The Try This:® Series from the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing (HIGN) at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing contains many evidence-based assessment tools. The tool, an article about using the tool, and a video illustrating the use of the tool, are all available for your use.

Author Information

Erin Hartnett, DNP, APRN-BC, CPNP
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
New York, NY