One local hygienist is going door to door to derail the effects of poor oral health.

Spearheaded by Katherine Peddle, Mobile Smiles aims to “improve and maintain the oral health of clients in retirement homes and long-term care facilities. We can also treat clients within their own homes.”

Beyond the obvious throes of dental woes like cavities, halitosis, and plain unsightly teeth, poor oral health is also linked to serious health issues like heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and complications related to diabetes.

Here’s a simplified explanation of how untreated periodontal disease puts us at risk for atherosclerosis: receptors on cells in the mouth interact with bacteria, causing inflammation and periodontal disease. Untreated, periodontal disease will release bacteria into the bloodstream, which can lead to cardiovascular troubles.

Dr. Robert MacGregor, president of the Canadian Dental Association, has also declared, ”Senior citizens can aspirate bacteria from their mouth into their lungs and that can result in pnuemonia.” Periodontal disease can also exacerbate diabetes. But enough on all that, except to say Periodontics is Katherine Peddle’s specialty.

This concept is new to our province,” says owner Katherine Peddle, “but is established in other provinces across Canada. Prior to 2013, dental hygienists in our province could only practice under the supervision of a dentist.”

Due to recent changes in legislation, Mobile Smiles can work independently to “promote healthy living through preventative and therapeutic dental hygiene services, for individuals who cannot access traditional dental clinics. This opened up new opportunities for dental hygienists to offer care to the public.”

Mobile Smiles provide a full scope of high quality services. “My equipment is designed to be compact and easy to move. It all packs up into 4 units that I can pack in the back of my vehicle to be transported to a senior residence or a client’s home or even a location in a remote community. All I need is a plug-in, and you have a fully functional dental clinic!”

Peddle is a Registered Dental Hygienist with The Newfoundland and Labrador Council of Health Professionals. “I have been in the dental field for twenty years. I have been a dental hygienist for the last ten years in the specialty practice of Periodontics.”

She’s also been very active in various volunteer positions giving back to the community by offering oral health education and free treatment to the public through an event called Gift From The Heart, where independent hygienists all across Canada give free treatment to members of the community who can’t afford treatment.

“I decided to pursue a mobile clinic since there are so many people who do not have access to quality oral health care due to mobility issues. Persons with disabilities, seniors, residents of long term care facilities all experience difficulties accessing oral health care. These people also are some of the most vulnerable for health issues related to poor oral health. This service offers people alternative access to oral health care which is greatly needed in our community.”