Oral Health Advocacy Program Targets the LGBT+ Community

Dentistry Today


The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry’s Pride Alliance will use a $4,000 award from the Chicago Dental Society Foundation Community Service Grants program to implement “Oral Health Advocacy for the LGBT+ Community.”

The community-based outreach program will consist of a two-day event over two weekends in July or August, which are yet to be determined. College of Dentistry volunteers will provide oral health information specific to the LGBT+ community, including youth, homeless, and at-risk LGBT+ community members, such as oral health problems, care for the oral cavity, and essential information on well-being.

“At these events, we plan on having food, games, and open dialogue sessions for all to join and feel welcome,” said Brian Currie, a third-year student and co-president of the Pride Alliance. “We will also be distributing oral hygiene kits and educational information pamphlets.”

In addition to creating an inclusive environment for all, the Pride Alliance said, Oral Health Advocacy for the LGBT+ Community will increase oral health literacy, enhance the understanding of oral health and its connection to overall health, and distribute resources to improve access to inclusive oral healthcare.

“The program seeks to increase oral health literacy by providing activities where individuals can learn proper techniques on how to brush and floss, how often to replace a toothbrush, why it’s important to visit a dentist regularly, and what kind of signs and symptoms to look for when immediate care is needed, among other important goals,” Currie said.

Currie also noted the importance of enhancing the understanding of oral health and its connection to overall health.

“We seek to inform individuals about smoking effects on their general health and oral health. Additionally, we want to emphasize nutritional counseling on the importance of having a balanced diet for proper nutrient intake and how deficiencies can manifest in the oral cavity and explain the impact of HPV on the development of oropharyngeal cancer,” he said.

As the goals include providing essential information on well-being, the Pride Alliance said, the initiative also focuses on providing necessary resources for the community.

“We wish to provide resource distribution for individuals to obtain access to inclusive care from dentists and oral health facilities in the Chicagoland area that are LGBT friendly in order to establish a dental home for those currently lacking one,” said Currie.

Additional information will be provided soon regarding Oral Health Advocacy for the LGBT+ Community, said the Pride Alliance said, which encourages those interested to follow the UIC College of Dentistry’s social media pages for the latest updates and more.

“We are so excited to get out in the community to improve oral health and wellness in an inclusive and welcoming environment for all,” Currie said.

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