Lead Author Affiliation

Doctor of Dental Surgery

Lead Author Program & Year

DDS Year 3

Presentation Category

Research

Introduction/Context/Diagnosis

Access to healthcare is a problem that many demographics face around the world. Often times, dental care is neglected altogether, and people do not start to seek care until they have a toothache that can no longer be ignored. As students here at Dugoni, we have found ourselves reaching out to help the global community by volunteering around the world and going on mission trips to places like Jamaica, Fiji, Mexico, and Guatemala. However, through our courses here at school, we saw the importance of providing care to those who are underserved right here at home in the United States alone.

We have been extremely lucky to live and study in San Francisco for the past two and a half years. However, we both realize it is an expensive place to live. Although the highest salaries in the world can be found in San Francisco1, we are hard-pressed to find a city with more of a disparity between its highest and lowest earning inhabitants. The mean household and individual salary in San Francisco was $137,761 and $103,124 respectively, whereas the nation’s median household income (in 2017) was $61,372.2 According to the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, the low income limits in San Francisco were defined as $117,400 for a household of four people and $82,200 for an individual, and an estimated 10% of residents were considered to be in poverty in 2018 - of those, residents 65 and older were mostly likely to be in poverty than any other age group.3

Ironically enough, the geriatric group of the population often is neglected by a large part of society, when in reality, they need the most amount of support and care. They often are polypharmacy patients, meaning that they take medications that affect their nutrition - a study of “community-dwelling elders found that polypharmacy was associated with a reduced intake of fiber, fat-soluble and B vitamins, and minerals as well as an increased intake of cholesterol, glucose, and sodium”4. Often times, the most prescribed hypertension medications can also cause xerostomia. A great part of nutrition comes from the patient’s ability to eat, but due to much of the geriatric population’s missing dentition and lack of dental care, eating and proper nutrition become very difficult to do on a daily basis. We noticed this from our very first visit to the TODCO (Tenants and Owners Development Corporation) site in San Francisco during our first year. That is when we knew we wanted to make a difference in the elderly, low-income population of San Francisco and give them a resource to get their much-needed dental care.

Methods/Treatment Plan

Our project aimed to provide a dental outreach program to the low-income seniors and residents of TODCO (Tenants and Owners Development Corporation) in San Francisco. In total, we visited about four different sites throughout the city. We provided a presentation of general dental facts and provided information about coming to University of the Pacific School of Dentistry and becoming a patient, as well as gave out oral hygiene aids such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. During our presentations, we took a pre-survey before the presentation and a post- survey after the presentation.

Results/Outcome

We surveyed approximately 30 different people throughout our outreach project on some general dental facts. As you can see some people did not answer all of the questions or only did one of the surveys. This made it difficult to have consistent results. Overall we found that the population had a good background on general dental facts such as knowing that oral health is related to your overall health and that you should visit the dentist at least twice a year. The question that showed improvement after our presentation was how many times a day do you or should you floss. Many people surveyed reported no flossing for the pre-survey and then after our presentation said at least 1 time or more for our post survey.

Significance/Conclusions

Our presentation helped reinforce these facts and gave them more information about using University of the Pacific School of Dentistry as a resource for their dental needs.

Format

Event

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Serving the Underserved at TODCO - Outreach Results and Research

Access to healthcare is a problem that many demographics face around the world. Often times, dental care is neglected altogether, and people do not start to seek care until they have a toothache that can no longer be ignored. As students here at Dugoni, we have found ourselves reaching out to help the global community by volunteering around the world and going on mission trips to places like Jamaica, Fiji, Mexico, and Guatemala. However, through our courses here at school, we saw the importance of providing care to those who are underserved right here at home in the United States alone.

We have been extremely lucky to live and study in San Francisco for the past two and a half years. However, we both realize it is an expensive place to live. Although the highest salaries in the world can be found in San Francisco1, we are hard-pressed to find a city with more of a disparity between its highest and lowest earning inhabitants. The mean household and individual salary in San Francisco was $137,761 and $103,124 respectively, whereas the nation’s median household income (in 2017) was $61,372.2 According to the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, the low income limits in San Francisco were defined as $117,400 for a household of four people and $82,200 for an individual, and an estimated 10% of residents were considered to be in poverty in 2018 - of those, residents 65 and older were mostly likely to be in poverty than any other age group.3

Ironically enough, the geriatric group of the population often is neglected by a large part of society, when in reality, they need the most amount of support and care. They often are polypharmacy patients, meaning that they take medications that affect their nutrition - a study of “community-dwelling elders found that polypharmacy was associated with a reduced intake of fiber, fat-soluble and B vitamins, and minerals as well as an increased intake of cholesterol, glucose, and sodium”4. Often times, the most prescribed hypertension medications can also cause xerostomia. A great part of nutrition comes from the patient’s ability to eat, but due to much of the geriatric population’s missing dentition and lack of dental care, eating and proper nutrition become very difficult to do on a daily basis. We noticed this from our very first visit to the TODCO (Tenants and Owners Development Corporation) site in San Francisco during our first year. That is when we knew we wanted to make a difference in the elderly, low-income population of San Francisco and give them a resource to get their much-needed dental care.