ADA Releases Principles to Repair and Enhance Safety Net Programs
The American Dental Association (ADA) has released a white paper, "Breaking Down Barriers to Oral Health for All Americans: Repairing the Tattered Safety Net," that outlines seven (7) principles to successfully "repair and enhance" oral health safety net programs in the U.S. The paper uses national data and current state-level examples, including Virginia's Smiles for Children program, to highlight its message that existing programs can be strengthened to collectively offer widespread improvement.
The ADA's fundamental principles of success are:
- Prevention is essential.
- Everyone deserves a dentist.
- Availability of care alone will not maximize utilization.
- Coordination is critical.
- Treating the existing disease without educating the patient is a wasted opportunity, making it likely that the disease will recur.
- Public-private collaboration works.
- Silence is the enemy.
With limited available funds, the ADA emphasizes change through education, advocacy and action, and underscores the need for more coordinated care efforts.
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Physicians and Dentists Team Up to Fight Childhood Dental Disease
Medical and dentistry practitioners met in Seattle this past July to discuss the collaborative fight against childhood dental disease. The symposium, co-sponsored by the University of Washington (UW) Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Seattle Children's Hospital, brought together family physicians, pediatricians and dentists to explore new ways to manage oral health in children. "This approach makes so much sense," said Dr. Joel Bergman, chairman of pediatric dentistry at UW. "Medical and dental partnerships are especially valuable in identifying and treating children at high risk for early childhood caries."
Read more about the conference and the campaign to fight childhood dental disease.
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CODA to Set Accreditation Standards for U.S. Dental Therapy Programs
The Commission on Dental Accreditation(CODA) is working to develop accreditation standards for dental therapy education programs in the U.S. CODA will use the standards to evaluate current education programs, establish accreditation program policies and procedures, and determine and publicize accreditation statuses. Virginia does not currently have a dental therapist program in place
Mouthwashing Moms Less Likely to Deliver Prematurely
A new study suggests that expectant mothers with gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, are less likely to deliver their babies prematurely (before 35 weeks) if they use mouthwash during pregnancy. The study hypothesizes that gum disease causes inflammation which increases the production of prostaglandin - the same chemical involved in labor. Regular use of alcohol-free mouthwash appeared to cut these womens' risk of early labor by three-quarters.
AAP Oral Health Risk Assessment Tool
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed and tested an Oral Health Risk Assessment Tool that can be easily incorporated into primary care practices to assess oral health risks during health supervision visits. An online tutorial is also available to accompany the tool.
Dental Practitioners Screen for Diabetes
Dental practitioners can accurately screen patients for diabetes and prediabetes using results from two measures they already routinely assess, a periodontal examination and a glucose test, according to a new study in the Journal of Dental Research.
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