Washington, D.C., January 27, 2014 – The American Dental Association (ADA) today published its latest paper on oral health disparities in underserved populations. Prior papers were published as “Breaking Down Barriers.” The brand has now been changed to comport with the Action for Dental Health campaign.
Action for Dental Health: Bringing Disease Prevention into Communities is the first of two that will address the importance of disease prevention. It focuses on a broad array of programs nationwide targeting tooth decay and gum disease, the two most prevalent dental problems, both of which are almost entirely preventable.
“There will always be some level of disease that has progressed to the point that restorative care is needed,” writes ADA President Charles Norman, D.D.S., in the introduction. “But the occurrence of disease can be reduced dramatically. This paper examines what works and why, what more is needed and the rewards that are possible by stopping disease before it starts.”
The ADA this year launched Action for Dental Health, a major campaign aimed at ending the dental health crisis affecting tens of millions of Americans. Action for Dental Health comprises multiple initiatives to address the complex barriers that impede millions of Americans from accessing adequate dental care. These initiatives fall into three distinct areas:
Providing care now to people who are suffering. That would include the elderly in nursing homes, children from low-income families, and the uninsured, who are more likely to visit an emergency room for relief from dental pain,
Strengthening the public/private dental safety net to dramatically increase its capacity to deliver care.
Focus on disease prevention and oral health education through community water fluoridation, the use of Community Dental Health Coordinators, stronger collaboration between dentistry and other health professions, and public health programs in schools and other public and private settings.
“Action for Dental Health now encompasses all existing and new ADA programs and initiatives aimed at improving oral health in underserved individuals and communities,” said Dr. Norman. “It’s an ambitious campaign with no less a goal than a virtual end to untreated dental disease in America. And prevention will be the ultimate key to accomplishing that goal.”