Abstract

Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities regarding untreated oral disease exist for older adults, and poor oral health diminishes quality of life. The ElderSmile program integrated screening for diabetes and hypertension into its community-based oral health activities at senior centers in northern Manhattan. The program found a willingness among minority seniors (aged ≥ 50 years) to be screened for primary care sensitive conditions by dental professionals and a high level of unrecognized disease (7.8% and 24.6% of ElderSmile participants had positive screening results for previously undiagnosed diabetes and hypertension, respectively). Dental professionals may screen for primary care-sensitive conditions and refer patients to health care providers for definitive diagnosis and treatment. The ElderSmile program is a replicable model for community-based oral and general health screening.