About Us

Smiles For Life produces educational resources to ensure the integration of oral health and primary care.

Our History

Smiles for Life: A National Oral Health Curriculum was originally developed in 2005 by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Group on Oral Health. It consisted of four modules, and was based in part on materials developed by regional consortia of family physicians, dentists, and educators between 2001 and 2004 including:

  • Washington Interdisciplinary Oral Health Project (ICOHP)
  • University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Project Smile
  • Physician Oral Health Education in Kentucky (POHEK)
  • University of Connecticut Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine 

A revised and expanded 2nd edition of Smiles for Life was released in 2008. It included additional modules on fluoride varnish and oral health in pregnancy. Its target audience was expanded to include all primary care clinicians including physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. Additional sources of materials included:

  • Arcora Foundation
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School

Components of the 2nd edition of Smiles for Life curriculum were downloaded from the project website more than 60,000 times prior to their retirement in June of 2010.

The 4th edition of Smiles for Life was released in 2020. It continues its broad focus on all primary care clinicians, while adding a module on the oral examination and opportunities for interactive on-line learning opportunities that focus on individual learners and small groups. Smiles for Life was honored by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians with Letters of Commendation in 2011.

Smiles for Life is now the nation's most comprehensive and widely used oral health curriculum for primary care clinicians. It has been officially endorsed by 20 national organizations, and is in wide use in professional schools and post-graduate training programs.

The Smiles for Life Steering Committee wishes to recognize Dr. Alan Douglass for his many contributions during his tenure as Smiles for Life editor from 2005-2012.