Category: Maximizing Quality of Life

20 - Advancing Oral Health in Minnesota's Aging Communities: Comprehensive findings from Basic Screening Survey of Older Adults

Minnesota older adults are in great need of better oral health care, especially those with limited income, chronic disease and disability. Funded in part by Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, the Minnesota Department of Health’s Oral Health Program conducted Minnesota’s first Basic Screening Survey (BSS) for Older Adults in 2016 to assess the oral health status of adults aged 65 years and older in a statewide sample of Medicare or Medicaid eligible nursing homes.  To increase precision estimates and reduce selection bias, the ASTDD recommended implicit stratified sampling methodology was applied to a list of 373 skilled nursing facilities using Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and Rural Urban Commuting Areas (designated as rural or urban area based on RUCA-zipcode) as stratifying variables. Licensed dental hygienists trained and calibrated in the BSS for Older Adults screened 1,032 older adults in 31 skilled nursing facilities with 30 or more beds resulting in 944 analyzable surveys. Data were weighted to account for the proportion of nursing home beds and residents screened within AAA and RUCA. Results show that 42 percent of older adults in Minnesota nursing homes have a dental care need. Two in 5 dentate older adults had tooth decay, 32 percent had root fragments, 66 percent had partial tooth loss and 25 percent had complete tooth loss. While we expect more dental disease in nursing home populations, these data reveal a significant issue that needs to be addressed.  

Source of Funding None

Keywords Keyword 1 Dental Public Health Keyword 2 Adults Keyword 3 Policy


Don Bishop

Prasida Khanal

State Oral Health Director
Minnesota Department of Health
St Paul, Minnesota

Prasida Khanal is the State Oral Health Director at the Minnesota Department of Health & has years of experience in diverse roles. She is a foreign-trained dentist & has honors in master of public health. Prasida practiced as community dentist in Nepal mostly serving in rural areas. She collaborated with the World Health Organization, the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Nepal for multiple national oral health projects. Prasida has worked as a volunteer with the United Nations & many Minnesota nonprofits. She has received both public health & humanitarian awards. The Center for Health Care Strategies awarded her the State Oral Health Leadership Institute (SOHLI) fellowship to achieve broad improvements in oral health policy and delivery.

Prasida envisions a statewide coordinated and systematic approach to improve the oral health of Minnesotans. She has the necessary leadership skills & policy knowledge to improve the oral health outcomes especially for the low-income children & adults through education and prevention of dental disease. She firmly believes in MDH triple aim of health equity & has been collaborating with ethnic & underserved communities to strengthen the dental public health system of Minnesota.