What is Mouth Care Matters?

mouth care mattersMouth Care Matters is one of three major initiatives of the Lifelong Smiles Coalition, which is led by Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation (DDIAF).  The other two initiatives are I-Smile™ Silver and the establishment of the Office of Education and Training within the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, all with the common goal of increasing access to oral health for older Iowans who are homebound or residents in a nursing home.


Brush up on your Oral Skills! 

Click here to view the 2017 Mouth Care Matters Spring Schedule – REGISTER NOW!

20 From Warren County Public Health and Senior Housing Management Embrace Mouth Care Matters! CONGRATS! 

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95% of attendees indicated that taking Mouth Care Matters contributed to the likelihood they will stay in the field of direct care and with their current employer.

“After struggling with the use of temp agencies, implementing referral-based bonuses, new employee appreciation incentives, and advertising employment on everything but water and air, we think we're finally on the right track to developing and growing a class of “prepared” and reliable health care employees through a partnership with local colleges.  With this free training, coupled with tuition reimbursement, a competitive wage, lucrative 401k program and full benefits, we have seen an uptick in employee development and a genuine interest and passion in their day to day routines.” Kayle Jenson, Senior Housing Management

Mouth Care Matters Training to Be Piloted With Family Caregivers 

Carol Van Aernam, Dental Hygienist demonstrates to Ann Black, AARP Iowa and Kay Vanags, Family Caregiver program, and partners in the effort, an approach to assisting an individual with brushing their teeth. I Smile Silver will also serve as a resource to family caregivers in the mini-pilot.


Mouth Care Matters Graduates Host Exhibit

Donna Cheers (left), Sally Chapman (right), Hospice Aides, HCI, with Carol Van Aernam, Lifelong Smiles Coalition member and Mouth Care Matters instructor (far right), hosted an exhibit for the Lifelong Smiles Coalition and Mouth Care Matters during the Iowa Dental Hygienist’s Association’s conference at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Ankeny.  They were able to share, first-hand, the value of the Mouth Care Matters training. Thanks Donna and Sally!

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Mouth Care Matters: First Specialty Under Prepare to Care

Mouth Care Matters is the first state-recognized, competency-based specialty under the Prepare to Care curriculum in the area of oral health care.  Those who successfully complete the training receive a state-issued certificate.

To get a glimpse into the highlights of the first two years of the project, please click here.


Mouth Care Matters Evaluation Yields Positive Results

Click here for Mouth Care Matters Executive Summary

Click here for Mouth Care Matters Full Evaluation Report


TWO MORE YEARS!  Thanks to Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation (DDIAF) and Mid-Iowa Health Foundation (MIHF) and Iowa Public Health Foundation (IDPH) Through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement (#DP13-1307)

L to R (top):  Dr. Bob Russell, Suzanne Heckenlaible, and Jeff Russell, all of Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation; Carol Van Aernam, Maribel Slinde, Pam Biklen, and Mary Ann Young, all of Iowa CareGivers; and Dr. Jeff Chaffin, Delta Dental.

Click here to read Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s news release

L to R (bottom):  Katie Foley, Intern, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation (center) pictured with Mary Ann Young (left), and Pam Biklen (right), Iowa CareGivers

Click here to read Mid-Iowa Health Foundation’s news release


Public Radio Features Mouth Care Matters

WVIK News - Quad Cities National Public Radio (NPR) shared highlights about Mouth Care Matters with listeners!

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More Mouth Care Matters Students to Applaud!

Candeo Takes On Mouth Care Matters Training! 

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Ottumwa Job Corps Adds Mouth Care Matters to Their Program

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Mouth Care Matters Resources

Mouth Care Matters Direct Care Professional, click here
Mouth Care Matters General Public Flyer, click here
Mouth Care Matters Employer Flyer, click here

Important Note: Individuals must first successfully complete the 6-hour Prepare to Care Core training before enrolling in the Mouth Care Matters class.  We highly recommend that those interested take the Core as soon as they can in order to be ready to sign up for Mouth Care Matters classes when they become available.  Call or email Mary Ann Young if you have questions at

Congratulations To 97 Direct Care Workers Completing Mouth Care Matters Oral Health Specialty Training!!


Ankeny Class photo gallery #1

Ankeny Class photo gallery #2

Boone Class photo gallery #1

Boone Class photo gallery #2

Carroll Class photo gallery

Newton Class photo gallery


DMACC Supports Mouth Care Matters

"DMACC is dedicated to the education and support of direct care professionals. DMACC strives to meet the needs of the community and we know this is a huge need." - Jaime Haub



23 Dental Hygienists Became Mouth Care Matters’ Instructors

Twenty-three dental hygienists completed the Mouth Care Matters Oral Health Specialty Instructor Training, developed and taught by Drs. Anita Stineman and Howard Cowen, University of Iowa Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry respectively.


Mouth Care Matters Milestone Reception Held To Congratulate New Instructors

To celebrate this project milestone a reception, sponsored by DMACC, was held for curriculum developers, funders, instructors, Life Long Smiles Coalition members, and other supporters. Thank you to everyone who joined in the celebration and congrats to the new instructor Grads!

Click here to view photos of the Reception


Oral Health Campaign Pilot Begins  
Oral Health Campaign Planning Committee

Pictured L to R: (front) Shonna Partelow, Wesley; Danielle Bloxham, Wesley;  (back) Carly Nelson, Madrid; April Elsberry, Madrid; Danielle Walters, Madrid; Sadie Fuson, Madrid; Teresa Pena, Madrid; Sue Hyland, dental hygienist. Not pictured: Carol Van Aernam, dental hygienist; MaryAnn Young, Iowa CareGivers; Pam Biklen, Iowa CareGivers

As part of the Mouth Care Matters project, Madrid Home Communities and Wesley helped plan and conduct an oral health campaign within their organizations. A committee, with representatives from each organization led by two dental hygienists and Iowa CareGivers staff, developed materials and programs for the campaign that could easily be modified and implemented into any setting.  Madrid and Wesley staff and residents participated in several activities highlighting oral health, including educational articles, posters, in-services and more!  The purpose was to simply raise attention to the importance of oral health because “there is no health without oral health.”* *Surgeon General, Report on Oral Health, 2000