One Bite At A Time: How Island Mobile Dental Hygiene is Bringing Dental Care Directly to Islanders

Meredith Riley grew up in Kinkora, Prince Edward Island. After graduating high school, Meredith furthered her education at the University of Prince Edward Island. Although she enjoyed her two years at UPEI, playing rugby and taking business courses, she was ready for a change. After taking a year off to work, she went back to school at Holland College for dental assisting, then continued into dental hygiene at the Canadian Academy of Dental Health Sciences in Toronto.

 “When I went to hygiene school, I had a teacher that really pushed for me to stay in Ontario and start a mobile business,” Meredith says, “She said I had the personality for that kind of work.” Although she kept this thought in the back of her mind, Meredith wanted to come back to the Island, where – at that time – regulations didn’t allow for dental hygienists to work independently. But Meredith found work in Summerside, and settled into life in Prince Edward Island, once again.


In early 2023, the profession of dental hygiene became self-regulated in PEI through the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Dental Hygienists Regulations, and the College of Dental Hygienists of PEI was formed. With this change in regulations, Meredith saw her chance. “I’ve got to be the first to start this type of business in PEI,” she said. Taking her experience and confidence gained from school and work, Meredith seized the opportunity to open her own mobile dentistry business: Island Mobile Dental Hygiene.

 Meredith’s services include cleaning, whitening, education, consulting and referrals, all from the comfort of her client’s homes. “I provide services to people who have difficulty getting into a traditional dental office,” said Meredith, “I have the mobile equipment that I can take and set up in someone’s home, living complex, or long-term care home, where they are comfortable.” 

Another avenue of Meredith’s inspiration to start her mobile dental hygiene business was her grandmother, who lived in long-term care for over 15 years. Growing up, Meredith noticed gaps in her grandmother’s treatment and care, especially when it came to oral health. Now, Meredith is proud to be able to provide this accessible dental hygiene option for all Islanders, but especially for seniors, people with mobility impairment, or people with anxiety about going into a clinical environment.  

PEI is a great setting for a mobile business, not only because of its geography but also because of its supportive and close-knit communities. “PEI is very community-forward,” Meredith says, “I’ve found a lot of benefits to starting my business here, like the connectedness of our communities.” Meredith credits word of mouth (no pun intended) for helping spread the word about her services, along with assistance from Innovation PEI’s Marketing Assistance Program

Starting a business can be daunting and overwhelming. But, over the last year, Meredith has made her business dream a reality, by accomplishing tasks gradually and relying on her support system. Fittingly, a proverb that has stuck out to Meredith throughout her business journey, and one that she and her husband often relay to each other when faced with a challenge, is “There is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.”

So, what’s next for Meredith? She and her husband are currently refitting an ambulance to create a mobile clinic. They hope to have it on the road by the Spring of 2024 to provide yet another accessible oral health option for Islanders, right at their doorstep.  Keep an eye out for Meredith on the road as she embarks on this new endeavor.