ADA issues disease prevention paper
January 24, 2014
By Craig Palmer, ADA News staff
The most cost-effective way to ensure optimal dental health in children and adults is through prevention, education and behavioral modifications, the Association said in a disease prevention paper posted online Jan. 24. This is the first of two newly named Action for Dental Health papers that will address the importance of disease prevention.
ADA President Dr. Charles H. Norman III introduced the ADH paper, Bringing Disease Prevention into Communities, as a renamed continuation of the ongoing series of Breaking Down Barriers to Oral Health for All Americans statements on workforce, finance and safety net topics. All the reports including the first prevention paper are posted at ADA.org.
"Disease prevention is the object of increasing focus in all of health care and holds the greatest promise for continued success," Dr. Norman said. "The two most prevalent dental pathologies—tooth decay and gum disease—are almost entirely preventable. Education about the dangers of tobacco and alcohol use can, by leading to behavioral changes, help prevent oral cancer. For patients with oral cancers, early detection yields a much greater survival rate than those whose disease has progressed undetected. Significant facial trauma can be prevented with the use of mouth guards and other protective equipment in recreational sports."
The first prevention paper examines disease patterns, health management, state oral health programs, oral health assessments and Community Dental Health Coordinators. Future papers will cover such topics as school-based delivery of preventive care, community water fluoridation, periodontal disease, diet, tobacco and other behavioral factors, dental health education, outreach through the media and evidence-based prevention.
"The ADA is committed to moving prevention to the forefront, not only in the public health community, which already understands its critical role in oral health, but also among government, the educational community, the other health professions and the public," the paper said in conclusion.
"Through Action for Dental Health: Dentists Making a Difference, the ADA is committed to achieving that, and is setting specific, measurable goals to do so."