Smiles for Life Curriculum

Taking up the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action (2000) for medical professions to become engaged in improving oral health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA) funded seven family medicine residencies to develop a curriculum and methods for educating and training their physicians and residents to deliver oral health preventive services to their patients while they are accessing health services.

In 2005, these programs, united as the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Group on Oral Health, requested additional funding to create a single curriculum for family practice resident education. Washington Dental Service Foundation, Connecticut Health Foundation, and DentaQuest Foundation responded with grants, enabling the completion of the Smiles for Life national oral health curriculum. Since its launch in 2005, the Smiles for Life curriculum has been revised and expanded and today is the nation’s most comprehensive and widely used oral health curriculum designed for primary care clinicians. The seven module course covers the relationship of oral to systemic health, child oral health, adult oral health, dental emergencies, oral health in pregnancy, fluoride varnish, and the oral examination. Curricular components of the first two editions of Smiles for Life were downloaded over 100,000 times.

The current, third edition (2010) is web-based and interactive and can be used by both individuals and health educators in academic settings. It includes educational objectives based on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) competencies, test questions, resources for further learning, oral health web links, an implementation guide, and detailed outlines of the modules. STFM was pleased to partner with the DentaQuest Foundation in support of the development of the third edition of Smiles for Life.

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