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Starts at $9.98 per contact hour
Min. Hours $$/Hr
4 hours $8.98
8 hours $7.98
12 hours $6.98
20 hours $5.98
30 hours $4.98

Oral Health: Beautiful Smiles for Life

1.0 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe various common types of oral health issues, as well as their causes, treatment, and prevention strategies.
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Oral health can affect virtually every other aspect of our health. Good oral health can not only prevent disease in the mouth but it can also prevent many chronic diseases. Good oral health is more than “pretty teeth” and affects our ability to speak, smile, eat, and show emotions. It impacts self-esteem, school performance, and attendance at school and work.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the impact of oral health issues on global health.
  • Describe clinical aspects of the major types of oral health problems, including dental caries, gum disease, oral cancer, oral infectious disease, oral trauma, and hereditary lesions.
  • Discuss other oral health issues including noma, halitosis, burning mouth syndrome, canker sores, and cold sores.
  • List ways to prevent most oral health issues.

Oral health is a state of being free from mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral infection and sores, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psychosocial well being (World Health Organization [WHO], 2017). Oral health addresses the structures of the mouth, including the teeth, gums, jawbone, and supporting tissues. Good oral health can prevent disease in the mouth but it can also affect the health of the entire body. Good oral health is more than “pretty teeth” and involves all aspects of the mouth (Office on Women’s Health [OWH], 2012). It affects our ability to speak, smile, eat, and show emotions. It impacts self-esteem, school performance, and attendance at school and work (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2015).

Oral diseases are a significant contributing risk factor for the four leading chronic diseases—cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes—and oral disease is often linked to chronic disease (WHO, 2017). In the United States alone, they cause disability for millions of Americans and cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year (CDC, 2015). While other areas of health are seeing great advances, oral health issues (especially in developing countries) can be severe. Consider these key facts (CDC, 2015; Ryan, 2011; WHO, 2017):

  • Dental caries (cavities) are still a major oral health problem in most industrialized countries and affect between 60% to 90% of school children and the vast majority of adults.
  • Severe periodontal (gum) disease, which can result in tooth loss, is found in 15% to 20% of middle-aged (35-44 years) adults.
  • Globally, about 30% of people aged 65-74 have no natural teeth.
  • Oral disease in children and adults is higher among poor and disadvantaged population groups.
  • In some parts of Africa, pulling teeth can often mean infection and death. For some, a witch doctor may use pliers or break jawbones, or people with a toothache for months or longer may decide to pull their own teeth and end up with an infection that can lead to death.
  • More than 70% of the world’s population has no access to basic oral care. For children with a toothache, lack of access to basic oral care can mean the difference between attending school or not.
  • Individuals with chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease or stroke, diabetes, emphysema, hepatitis C, HIV, autoimmune disease, liver conditions, or obesity are at high risk for tooth loss or poor oral health.

The most common oral health problems are dental caries (cavities), gum disease, oral cancer, oral infectious disease, trauma from injuries, and hereditary lesions (WHO, 2017).

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Domain of OT

Course Expires:

August 23, 2020

  • Caroline Young, MPH
  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.