University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics Research Reveals Breakthrough in Dementia Care with Innovative Mobile App

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A recent study, sponsored by the Delta Dental Institute, highlights a substantial improvement in caregivers' attitudes toward providing oral hygiene care for individuals living with dementia through the utilization of a cutting-edge mobile app.

University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics Research Reveals Breakthrough in Dementia Care with Innovative Mobile App | Image Credit: © Delta Dental Institute

University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics Research Reveals Breakthrough in Dementia Care with Innovative Mobile App | Image Credit: © Delta Dental Institute

Caregivers of people living with dementia experienced a noteworthy enhancement in their knowledge, skills, and overall positive attitude in delivering oral hygiene care, resulting in increased confidence in providing quality care. This revelation stems from the latest research conducted by the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics in collaboration with the University of Iowa College of Public Health. The study, spearheaded by Leonardo Marchini, DDS, MSD, PhD, and Sato Ashida, PhD, focused on the impact of the Dental.Aging.Tips app as a valuable tool to educate and guide caregivers in supporting older adults' oral health.

"While previous studies have shown that oral hygiene routines for older adults who depend on caregivers are poor due to barriers such as lack of on demand support and training, our study demonstrates that care can be improved through the use of a new mobile app," says Dr Marchini in a press release. "It is tremendously encouraging that the newly developed Dental.Aging.Tips app used in this study was widely accepted, and improved caregivers' attitudes, knowledge, and abilities to provide oral hygiene care."

Key findings from the study, published in Special Care in Dentistry, include:

  • The Dental.Aging.Tips App positively influenced perceptions related to oral hygiene care among both family and paid caregivers.
  • Caregivers found the app's information highly useful in improving oral hygiene care for persons living with dementia.
  • Particularly beneficial for paid caregivers, the app serves as a valuable resource for refreshing their knowledge and skills in providing oral hygiene care.
  • This app can be a useful tool for staff training or orientations at long-term care facilities.

Joseph Dill, DDS, MBA, Chief Dental Officer of Delta Dental Plans Association and Head of Dental Science at Delta Dental Institute, expressed optimism about the research findings. "Maintaining good oral health habits as we age is critical to supporting overall health, and it is promising that Dr Marchini's research findings provide caregivers with a new tool to support the oral health of people living with dementia,"he adds in the press release. "As the nation's oral health leader, the Delta Dental Institute is proud to invest in research with actionable solutions–we encourage caregivers for older adults to download this free app and leverage these resources."

The Delta Dental Institute sponsored the report, focusing on research that explores care delivery models, including emerging technology and mobile apps, to improve health care outcomes and advance patient-centered care.

The study focused on the impact of the Dental.Aging.Tips app as a valuable tool to educate and guide caregivers in supporting older adults' oral health. | Image Credit: © Delta Dental Institute

The study focused on the impact of the Dental.Aging.Tips app as a valuable tool to educate and guide caregivers in supporting older adults' oral health. | Image Credit: © Delta Dental Institute

To access the Dental.Aging.Tips app, click here.

The Delta Dental Institute is committed to advancing oral health for all Americans in partnership with the Delta Dental companies and dedicated collaborators nationwide. Rooted in Delta Dental's extensive history of oral health leadership, the institute engages in and supports oral health research, community outreach, and advocacy, aiming to ensure everyone understands the importance of oral health to overall health and has access to necessary care.

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics stands as one of the nation's leading dental schools and the sole one in the state of Iowa. Since 1882, the college has been a pioneer in patient care, dental education, and oral science research, producing 78% of Iowa dentists as proud graduates. As an integral part of the university's health sciences campus, its dental clinics serve over 170,000 patients annually, ranking third among all accredited dental schools in the U.S. in clinic hours.

The University of Iowa College of Public Health serves as a comprehensive public health resource for Iowa, the Midwest, and the nation. Ranked among the top 10 publicly supported schools of public health in the U.S., the college takes a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to addressing public health challenges and training the next generation of public health leaders, educators, and researchers.

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