Oral Health Equity Project

An Effective Practice


The Oral Health Equity Project (OHEP) provides free oral health screening for low income Boston elders. The project also offers low-cost follow-up appointments and treatment, and raises awareness about oral cancer prevention, denture care, smoking, nutrition, and overall oral hygiene. Local dental schools have shown a commitment to the program by making additional staff, fourth year dental students, and first year students available for the oral health screenings. The program is mutually beneficial, as students gain practical experience in community based settings and low-income elders get improved dental care.

Goal / Mission

The mission of the Oral Health Equity Project (OHEP) is to increase access to preventative services and dental care for economically disadvantaged elders living in Boston's public housing. The specific goal of the three-year project is to provide oral health screening to 1000 low-income elders.

Results / Accomplishments

In the first sixteen months of the project, 675 individual screenings were conducted in 42 housing developments, reaching a total of 514 60+ elders and 161 individuals under 60 years of age. Among all individuals screened, OHEP identified 34 cases needing urgent care, 62 cases needing denture repair/reline, and 179 cases needing new dentures. An OHEP canvas bag containing a set of the educational materials (available in seven languages), a toothbrush and toothpaste, and a denture kit was given to each elder.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Meghan Turnier, Program Manager
1010 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02118
(617) 534-5683
Health / Oral Health
Health / Older Adults & Aging
Boston Public Health Commission
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Boston, MA
For more details
Target Audience
Additional Audience

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