News items Grant for nationwide improvement of oral health in older people

28 February 2022

The ORANGEHealth.NL consortium led by ACTA Amsterdam will receive over 1.8 million euros from the Top Sector Life Science & Health. They will improve oral care and oral health for older people in the Netherlands, with special attention to vulnerable groups, prevention, the right care in the right place, and cooperation between care providers. The Radboudumc is a partner and will study the link between oral health and general health, and the development of sensors in the mouth.

ORANGEHealth.NL will receive the grant for their first major joint project ORANGEFORCE. In this project more than fifty dental and oral health practices are working together with general practitioners and other primary care providers, researchers and companies. The project focuses on more effective communication between the parties, and the development of assistive technology and diagnostics for older people who are at greater risk of disease, both in the mouth and in the rest of the body. Timely detection of diseases can prevent or reduce health complications and costs, and improve patients' quality of life.

Treasure of information

"ORANGEFORCE is an important step in the collaboration between oral health disciplines, businesses and primary care," says Willem Fokkema, project director of ORANGEHealth. "A healthy mouth is an important prerequisite for overall health. In case of abnormalities, it is important that the oral care professional can share this with primary care and vice versa. We have not yet organized this structurally in the Netherlands. There is a wealth of information about health and disease in the mouth, for example in saliva, and we do too little with this information at the moment."

Link between dentist and general practitioner

The Radboudumc is involved in setting up the consortium and the ORANGE-FORCE project. Marie-Charlotte Huysmans, Professor of Cariology and Endodontology, is leading the research focusing on collecting oral health data and linking it to overall health. Huysmans: "We will combine electronic patient records from dentists and from general practitioners. Is what we find at the dentist also relevant for the general practitioner, and vice versa? Initially we will look at people who use multiple medications at the same time, who have diabetes and overall health levels of older people."

Mini-sensor in the mouth

In addition, Professor Bas Loomans and Frank Walboomers are studying measurements in the mouth. Together with a company, they are developing very small sensors that they will glue to a tooth. Loomans: "These sensors collect data on, for example, acidity or the concentration of sugar in saliva. The data is transmitted wirelessly to a smartwatch or cell phone and both the patient and the oral care professional receive information about the condition and possible problems in the mouth. That information provides insight and thus helps prevent cavities and dental wear."

Healthy Mouth

The ORANGEHealth consortium was founded by the dental and oral health training institutes of the Netherlands: ACTA Amsterdam, Radboudumc Nijmegen, UMCG Groningen, Inholland Amsterdam, HAN Arnhem/Nijmegen, Hogeschool Utrecht and Hanze Hogeschool Groningen. They work together with public and private parties to improve the oral health of older people in the Netherlands.

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Annemarie Eek

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