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Preventive approaches to caries topic of newly published paper

September 23, 2016

By Michelle Manchir

Health professionals can be proactive in managing caries and preventing loss of tooth structure and infection, according to a discussion paper published Sept. 14 by the National Academy of Medicine.

The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs’ Caries Workgroup, along with Dr. Lindsey Robinson, 13th District trustee and liaison to the council, developed the paper, Dental Caries Management in Children and Adults.

Written in consumer-friendly language and accessible at no cost online, the paper addresses how factors like improved health literacy and more inteprofessional collaboration can improve oral health.

“Dental caries is not an issue just for dentists to solve,” said Dr. Rebecca Slayton, the paper’s lead author and chair of the caries workgroup. “Really anybody that is involved in health care: pediatricians, family physicians, nurses, teachers, everybody that has any involvement in the care of others at any age, can be an advocate for improved oral health. It is really true for this that it takes a village.”

The paper states that “person-centered approaches” to the treatment of dental caries, including individual risk assessment, active surveillance, oral health literacy, and preventive intervention therapies, are the essential “evidence-based approaches for the effective management of this disease.”

“Caries is a disease process that, if diagnosed early, often can be managed nonsurgically to prevent loss of tooth structure and potential localized or systemic infection,” the paper says. “We propose that effective management of the disease process will not only involve the clinical skill of the dental clinicians, but also employ the principles of shared decision-making.”

To read the entire paper, visit NAM.edu and search for the paper’s title, Dental Caries Management in Children and Adults.