Oral Health


Photo of a dentist working on a patient's teeth. The patient's head is tilted backwards and the dentist is shining a light into their mouth while they use their tools.

The Oral Health Research Exchange Group meets regularly to discuss oral health topics of significance in Newfoundland and Labrador. The primary purpose of the group is to consider existing and potential oral health issues that may benefit from the implementation of applied health research. This group will promote, encourage and facilitate within its means, such research. The group consists of researchers, oral health professionals, policy makers, government decision makers, and people from the broader community who are interested in the role of research in advancing oral health in Newfoundland and Labrador.

See Group Activities and Presentations

See Additional Resources 

Group Convener
  • Cindy Holden—Newfoundland and Labrador College of Dental Hygienists


Join Us

NLCAHR’s Research Exchange Group on Oral Health welcomes anyone with an interest in oral health to join us. See our calendar of meetings for information about upcoming webinars or email rochelle.baker@med.mun.ca for more details.


Oral Health in the Spotlight

The Research Exchange Group on Oral Health is now featured in the "Spotlight" on the website of the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research. Check us out, here

Group Activities & Presentations


March 3, 2023 10:30am - 12:00pm | Canada Health Measures Survey Presentation | Lisette Dufour RDH/HD, is the Oral Health Advisor at the Office of the Chief Dental Officer of Canada Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Prevention Branch (HPCDPB) /Public Health Agency of Canada. At this presentation, Lisette will:

  • provide a national landscape on dental expenditures and on oral health human resources across our country
  • provide some background on Canadian oral health surveillance
  • outline the drivers and the recommendations regarding oral health data required for the next decade
  • define the roles and responsibilities of each party involved in the Canadian oral health data collection in Cycle 7 of the CHMS
  • provide information about the household, clinical and bio-sample oral health measurements to be collected during cycle 7 of the CHMS
  • provide information on the newly created National Oral Health Assessment Tools for children and Seniors

December 14, 2022 at 10:00am | Self-rated health and oral health measures in population- based surveys |Dr. Meghashyam Bhat is a Visiting Associate Professor at the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH), School of Dentistry at the University of Adelaide, Australia and a full professor in the specialty of Public Health Dentistry at the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences Bengaluru in India.  He collaborates with researchers from Australia, Canada and the Caribbean islands.  Dr. Bhat spoke with our group about self-rated health and oral health measures in population- based surveys and seeks opportunities to collaborate with researchers in Atlantic Canada on isues related to the Social Determinants of Health and their impacts on oral health and healthcare. 

June 16, 2022 at 1230PM Newfoundland Time | Dental Care in Primary Care in Newfoundland and Labrador | This research project aims to understand the experience, knowledge and education of primary care physicians in Newfoundland and Labrador with regards to addressing common dental issues in their practice.

About our presenters:
Myfanwy Price is a first year family medicine resident at Memorial University.
Jessa Vokey is a first year pediatric resident at Memorial University.



November 17, 2021 | 1:30pm NST | Via Zoom |Dysphagia and Oral Health: Implementing a modified Free-Water Protocol in long-|Dr. Roberta Didonato and Ms. Cindy Holden, RDH, MPH will discuss the NL- SPOR funded study which they conducted at the Pleasant View Towers long-term care (LTC) setting in Newfoundland and Labrador. The study examined the practicality of implementing a modified free-water protocol with oral hygiene care for older adult residents with varying levels of swallowing difficulties. The researchers will highlight how the project illuminated a number of factors related to the oral care of older adults, and revealed the many practical and ethical challenges inherent in conducting research within a long-term care setting. About our Presenters: Dr. Roberta DiDonato conducts research in cognitive hearing science, communications, and aging. She has a Ph.D. in Experimental Cognitive Psychology from Memorial University. She is also a certified Speech-Language Pathologist who has worked in LTC settings in Eastern Health. Currently, Dr. DiDonato is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University. These combined researcher-clinician roles have provided Dr. DiDonato the opportunity to disseminate the findings from her research as a proponent for knowledge translation to varied professional researchers and clinicians whose interest is in aging. Cindy Holden is a Registered Dental Hygienist working in St. John’s Newfoundland and has a Master’s of Public Health degree from Memorial University. She is the convener of the NLCAHR Research Exchange Group on Oral Health and an advocate for integrated and more equitable oral care for this province.

Previous Meetings

October 28, 2019 | A Community Project to Provide Oral Healthcare at The Gathering Place | Dr. Linda Blakey and Ms. Joanne Thompson |  Link to Presentation |

November 20, 2018 | Implementing the Frazier Free Water Protocol (FFWP) with Oral Care to Improve Hydration and Quality of Life in Long-Term Care Residents | Dr. Roberta Didonato and Cindy Holden | Two health professionals recently embarked on an interdisciplinary research to improve the quality of care for long-term care residents. The introductory study involving oral health and dysphagia management may also reduce the number of visits to acute care for respiratory infections. The study, designed as a randomized control, was awarded funding by NL Support. As a new initiative, the researchers asked the group for feedback on the study design and methodology, seeking input from health and wellness researchers in the community. | Link to Presentation |

March 26, 2018 | The Children's Dental Health Plan: A Success Story to Build On | Michelle Zwicker | Integrating Dental Services into a Primary Healthcare Initiative for Low-Income Individuals in St. John’s | Jill Allison and Katrina Bartellas | Link to Presentation 

November 7, 2017 | Presentation on Services for Researchers Through NL Support | Dr. Eva Vat, Patient Engagement Coordinator for NL-SUPPORT | Link to Presentation |

NL Support Links for Oral Health Researchers:

November 23, 2017 | Interprofessional Collaboration Using Oral Hygiene to Limit Aspiration Pneumonia Risk in Long-Term Care | Dr. Catriona Steele PhD, S-LP (C) | Link to Presentation |

April 11, 2017 | Discussion about NCOHR Projects | 

February 7, 2017 | NCOHR Mission, Programs, Opportunities | Dr. Alain, Moreau, Director, Network of Canadian Oral Health Research | Link to Presentation |

  • November 22, 2016 | Group Meeting
    September 20, 2016 | Group Meeting
    April 26, 2016 | Group Meeting
    January 28, 2016 | Group Meeting 
  • February 21, 2014 | Group Meeting
  • November 2013 | Group Meeting | Link to Presentation | 
  • November 25, 2010  | Group Meeting | Link to Presentation |
  • August 18, 2010 | Group Meeting | Link to Presentation | 

Resources Related to Oral Health Research