About OHTH

Oral Health, Total Health (OHTH) is a Federal Non-Profit Organization initially founded by Dr. Alison Sigal in 2008. With a mission to advocate, educate, and improve the oral health care of persons with special needs of all ages. Since inception, OHTH has reached across Canada with each OHTH chapter led by inspiring students from their respective Faculties of Dentistry and Public Dental Hygiene Colleges.

For over thirty years, oral health has remained as one of the top unmet health needs facing persons with special needs, whom research has shown, experience a greater load of oral disease including cavities and gum disease than the general population.

In addition, current research indicates that a strong relationship exists between inflammatory gum disease, and even cavities, and general diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and pneumonias. These increased risks for general diseases, pose even greater health risks with catastrophic outcomes for this high-risk population. When considering the probable relationships between oral and systemic disease in the special needs population, the need to provide adequate oral health care becomes very evident. Unfortunately, persons with special needs have the hardest time finding dental care in their communities.

Their lack of access to oral care is due in part to dentists preferring not to treat persons with special needs in their offices for reasons including a lack of comfort or familiarity or belief of necessary special equipment. For this and other reasons, the reality is that many patients are forced to travel several hours for a routine 15-minute check-up to the few offering their services or for many, unfortunately, do not receive dental care.

Oral Health, Total Health is a purely student run organization to which hosts initiatives that bring together dental and dental hygiene students, Faculty of Dentistry Alumni and Graduate Specialty students, persons with special needs from various communities, their care workers and families to create a better community.

Our goal, especially with our annual cornerstone event, Sharing Smiles Day, is to bring all of these groups together for a fun-filled day, where positive relationships can be fostered with a life long commitment to improving access to dental care for this wonderful population.

Working today, for a better, brighter, healthier tomorrow.

Our Vision

A country in which all persons regardless of their disabilities have universal access to oral health care.

Our Mission

Oral Health, Total Health delivers on three goals:

  • To educate and encourage dental students, residents and dental hygiene students to provide oral health care for persons with special needs within their clinics upon graduation.
  • To raise awareness and educate community access workers and caregivers to provide oral care for these individuals.
  • To provide funding for clinics and initiatives that promote universal access to oral health care for persons with special needs.

OHTH Initiatives

  • Annual Sharing Smiles Days
  • Lecture Presentations (See Resources)
  • Constant advocacy for universal access to oral health care for persons with special needs through media opportunities and publication (See News & Events)
  •  Production of an instructional oral care DVD and guidelines on proper oral hygiene for persons with special needs. Supplied to all Community Living facilities across Ontario and implemented in the training of staff (See Resources) 
  •  Community fundraising events

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