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Putting 'Oral Health is Health'

Into Action


Oral health has been recognized as a human right. The oral health of an individual is defined as “a state of being free of mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral infection and sores, birth defects such as cleft lip and palate, periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss, and other disease and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psychological wellbeing."

Despite being largely preventable, oral disorders combined are the most common chronic diseases and a major public health problem worldwide.

There is a direct association between oral disease and social determinants of health such as education, income, and geographic location. Disparities in access to care need to be investigated in all aspects of oral health care, including the allocation of resources, oral health care services usage, the quality of services, workforce, and the financing of oral health care.


Read our snapshot on this topic here.

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Putting Oral Health into Health Action Video:


Produced by our HPI Intern Joshua Yusuf, Dr. Affoo and Shauna Hachey introduce their project as co-leads of the Healthy Populations Institute's Putting 'Oral Health is Health' Into Action Flagship Project. This project is one of five projects that emerged as a part of the 2020 - 2025 strategic plan. 


Click here to watch the video! 

Flagship Project Co-Leads


Dr. Rebecca Affoo

Faculty of Health

Flagship Project Community Lead:

Francine Leach


 Shauna Hachey

 Faculty of Dentistry


Translating Research into Action 

Roundtable on Oral Health and Frailty

June 2023


HPI supported Dr. Affoo to led the organization of a stakeholder roundtable to explore the relationship of Oral Health and Frailty. The goal for the meeting was to assemble a team of researchers, clinicians, educators, and patient partners to identify research priorities pertaining to the exploration of the reciprocal associations between oral health and frailty.


Baby Smiles Weskewikwa'sit mijua'ji’j, a children’s book for healthy, happy baby teeth is launched

April 17, 2023

Flagship Project Co-Lead Shauna Hachey, in collaboration with the Tui’kn Partnership and Tajikeimik, are excited to share the Baby Smiles - Weskewikwa'sit mijua'ji'j children’s book, available to new parents and caregivers on April 20, 2023. Released during National Oral Health Month, Baby Smiles - provides healthy habits to promote baby’s healthy teeth for First Nations communities. 

HPI Emerging Leader Lindsay MacDonald publishes work in Journal of Dental Education

March 25, 2023

“We talk teeth”: Exploring faculty EDIA (equity, diversity, inclusivity, and access) capacity in dental education was published recently.This study sought to explore how dental faculty members perceive their personal and institutional EDIA capacity and to identify current strengths and weaknesses of EDIA development within the institution of study and dental education. Check it out here. 

December 2022

Dr. Rebecca Affoo, co-lead of the Oral Health HPI Flagship Project, received the Research Nova Scotia 2022-23 New Health Investigator Grant fo a two year project entitled “The Impact of Oral Health and Communication on the Ability of Older Nova Scotians to Live Well in the Community”. The research team includes Mary McNally, Shauna Hachey, Violet D’Souza, Elaine Moody, Melissa Andrew, Steve Aiken, and Ellen Hickey. HPI has supported this grant and will continue to do so. 

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HPI Speaker Series

April 20, 2022

To celebrate Oral Health Month, HPI's Oral Health Flagship Project hosted Dr. Carlos Quiñonez, dental public health specialist, professor, and program director at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto. His presentation entitled "Oral health care renewal in Canada: Teaching an old dog new tricks" reviewed why dental care in Canada is what it is and why change is needed to not only safeguard the health of populations but also that of the dental profession itself. This event created great interest with 85 registrants and 56 participants mostly from NS and Ontario.

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Open Dialogue Event

April 29, 2021

This Open Dialogue Live explores current issues in oral health care faced by Canadians across the lifespan, from children under care of the government to aging populations in long-term care facilities. Dr. Rebecca Affoo, Faculty of Health, and Prof. Shauna Hachey, Faculty of Dentistry, the co-leads of Dalhousie’s Healthy Populations Institute Flagship Project Putting ‘Oral Health is Health’ into Action, moderated this session.​ To watch a recording, click here.


Oral Health Kits:

Dr. Rebecca Affoo and Prof. Shauna Hachey from HPI assembled and distributed oral health care bundles to help intensive care unit nursing staff care for their patients, particularly those on ventilators. Read more here.

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HPI Scholars have created an evidence based program to facilitate uptake of daily oral care in continuing care.


Click here for more information or check out the Brushing Up Videos on the HOI Youtube Channel. 

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