Research Papers


In 2009, Associate Professor Janet Wallace from the University of Newcastle, Faculty of Health and Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Discipline of Oral Health, implemented a pilot oral health student placement program in 17 Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) on the NSW, Central Coast, Australia.

The service- learning oral health student placement program was developed to provide final year dental hygiene students enrolled in the then Bachelor of Oral Health degree program with an opportunity to experience a ‘real life’ community based student placement and to provide oral health education for the RACF residents and the RACF staff.

The student placement program was supported by 4 years of research and uncovered an area of unmet oral health needs within the RACF. Students reported a lack of oral health care and a need to develop a preventive oral health care program within the RACF environment.

This initial research focused on the student experience however, the needs of the frail and elderly residents became a focus and resulted in the development of translational research known as ‘Senior Smiles’. 

The 7 papers presented in this research section, tell the story of the student experience, the oral health challenges within the RACF environment and the development of the ‘Senior Smiles’ preventive oral health care program for older people living in residential aged care facilities.

Posted on June 9th, 2020
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