NPT’s ‘Aging Matters: Dental Health’ premieres Sept. 27 at 8 p.m.

Aging Matters: Dental Health, the twelfth documentary in Nashville Public Television’s NPT Reports: Aging Matters series, premieres Thursday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m.

Tennessee ranks 49th in oral health for older adults and almost half of Tennesseans over 65 . Older adults are often susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay, which can affect their general health and quality of life. Aging Matters: Dental Health explores explores how oral health affects overall health and how seniors will access dental care, particularly if they lack insurance.

Poor oral health can lead to increased risk of serious health problems, including heart disease and complications in controlling diabetes. The good news is that dentistry has come a long way in the last century, and today’s seniors are maintaining their natural teeth longer than in the past.

The broadcast premiere of Aging Matters: Dental Health will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Holly Plemons, senior program director for Interfaith Dental Clinic’s SMILE ON 60+; Dr. Michele Blackledge, dental director of Neighborhood Health in Middle Tennessee; Dr. Rhonda Switzer-Nadasdi, CEO of Interfaith Dental Clinic; and Bruce Sites, executive director of Friends in Need based in Kingsport, Tenn.

NPT is also offering two free public screenings of the documentary. The first, a preview event, takes place on Monday, Sept. 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at FiftyForward’s Patricia Hart Building (174 Rains Ave., Nashville 37203). The event will include lunch and a panel discussion. The event is free, but RSVPs are required at dental-npt.eventbrite.com.

The second event takes place after the broadcast premiere, on Thursday, Oct. 4, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Nashville Downtown Public Library’s auditorium (615 Church St., Nashville 37219). This event includes a discussion and is co-sponsored by the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability and Interfaith Dental Clinic. RSVPs are required for this free event at dentalhealth-npt.eventbrite.com.

Aging Matters: Dental Health was produced by Shawn Anfinson, whose previous projects include documentaries in NPT’s Next Door Neighbors series, Tennessee Crossroads episodes, and numerous short features for NPT’s Veterans Coming Home, American Graduate and other series.

The NPT Reports: Aging Matters series is hosted by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Kathy Mattea. The funding for Aging Matters: Dental Health was provided through a grant awarded by the Davidson County Chancery Court, Part III from the SeniorTrust/ElderTrust settlement (Case No. 11-1548-III) and through a contract administered by the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.

Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Dental Health are Monday, Oct. 1, at 8 a.m. and Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 1 p.m., both on NPT2. The documentary will also be available for online viewing at wnpt.org/agingmatters/.

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