Keeping Canada’s Aging Population Healthy: Resources for Dental Hygienists

As primary health care providers with expertise in oral health promotion and disease prevention, dental hygienists play a key role in providing baseline and ongoing oral assessments for seniors, developing individualized daily oral care plans and making appropriate referrals when indicated. They can also play an important part in the promotion of oral health within a long-term or residential care setting by providing education to those supporting seniors. This inventory of high-quality Canadian resources has been assembled in consultation with CDHA’s Independent Dental Hygiene Practice Advisory Committee (IDHPAC) , composed of independent practice members from across Canada. It is intended as a guide only. It is the responsibility of the dental hygienist to confirm all regulations and requirements with their regulatory authority.

Dental Hygienists in the Role of Knowledge Broker: Health Promotion and Education to Caregivers

Staff of long-term care facilities, dental hygienists, and other oral health care providers ideally work collaboratively to develop constructive relationships and processes to advocate for and enable the provision of appropriate care for the oral health needs of the residents. The following resources have been selected to support dental hygienists while working in this capacity.

Long-Term Care Brochure

Developed by CDHA, this customizable brochure provides information that can be used to promote the importance of good oral health and professional oral health care at every stage of life. The brochure can be used to educate administrators, caregivers, and residents in long-term care.

CDHA members can download the brochure and customize it with their logo and business information.

Please download the brochure to your desktop and open with Acrobat Reader to complete customization.

Professional Development Resources for the Dental Hygienist

As regulated health professionals, dental hygienists maintain competence through a commitment to lifelong learning. The following section highlights professional development resources, vetted by CDHA’s independent practice advisory committee, which support dental hygienists in their pursuit of knowledge.

McMaster University: Regional Geriatric Program central

The Regional Geriatric Program central (RGPc) at McMaster University has developed resources to assist dental hygienists in implementing and facilitating oral hygiene care programs in long-term, residential or home care settings.

For more information, search Oral Health:

Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario: Nursing Best Practice Guideline on Oral Health

Published by the RNAO, this resource contains best practice guidelines for nursing practitioners working with vulnerable adults requiring assistance with their oral hygiene care. This resource can be referenced by dental hygienists while in a role of facilitator, when implementing and promoting clinical standards and best practice guidelines in long-term care facilities or directly with point-of-care personnel.

For more information:

University of Manitoba: Centre for Community Oral Health

The University of Manitoba’s Health Promotion Unit (HPU) has developed a variety of short didactic video clips to demonstrate how to provide mouth care for dependent adults in the Mouthcare resources for caregivers section. Using the video clips, dental hygienists can improve their skills in effectively providing mouth care, and share this information with other point-of-care providers and family caregivers. Resource sheets are also available.

For more information:

Advanced Gerontological Education: Gentle Persuasive Approaches

Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA®) is an innovative dementia care education curriculum based on a person-centered care approach. One of the only evidence-based curricula available in Canada, GPA is delivered by certified coaches who guide participants in using emotional, environmental, and interpersonal communication strategies to recognize, prevent, and defuse responsive behaviours. GPA Basics Education also includes respectful self-protective and gentle redirection techniques for use in situations of risk to the provider. Designed for interdisciplinary point-of-care staff across health care sectors, GPA Basics Education consists of four modules presented over a 7.5-hour day. It is available across Canada, and is a prerequisite for the Geriatric Certificate Program at McMaster University.

For more information:

How to apply:

McMaster University: Geriatric Certificate Program

The Geriatric Certificate Program (GCP) offered by McMaster University consists of educational programming that is aimed at improving quality of care for our aging population. Under the Regulated Health Professional Stream, the GCP certificate consists of 5 required courses and 2 elective courses that must be taken over a 3-year period in order to fulfill the certificate program requirements. GCP offers a McMaster University Certificate of Continuing Health Sciences Education upon successful completion of the program.

For more information:

How to apply:

If you have resources that you think should be included here, please send the information to This page will be updated regularly, so please check back periodically.