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House resolution addresses school-based oral health programs

Orlando, Fla.—The ADA House of Delegates’ passage of Resolution 38H-2010 “recognizes that school-based oral health programs can play an important role in preventing and controlling dental caries in children and adolescents and can assist in the referral of those patients to establish a dental home.”

The measure also calls for the ADA to provide members and education groups with information on school-based oral health programs.

The resolution, submitted by the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations, addresses the fact that tooth decay remains the single most common chronic disease of children. Caries is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever, and 80 percent of tooth decay in permanent teeth occurs in just 25 percent of children and adolescents—primarily those with economic and access to care barriers, said Dr. Gary Davis, CAPIR chair.

“Recognizing the benefits that can be achieved through school-based oral health programs, the ADA has a responsibility to its members and the public to provide information to assist policymakers so that these programs can be carried out in a safe and ethical manner,” said Dr. Davis. “As CAPIR has explored the issues surrounding school-based oral health programs, the council has discovered numerous resources designed to provide information to the professionals who provide these programs as well as the schools where the programs are operated.”

The resolution also directs the Association to develop a page on “dedicated to providing information on school-based oral health programs including links to external resources designed to assist professional providers, school boards and the public establish and maintain such programs in a safe and ethical manner.”

Res. 38H-2010 also calls for the ADA to reach out to national school agencies, such as the National School Boards Association, to discuss possible collaborations to promote materials pertaining to school-based oral health programs.

Also focusing on collaboration to improve oral health, Res. 39H-2010 directs that “the ADA, in order to anticipate and respect diverse values, beliefs, and cultures, incorporate a variety of approaches for volunteers and staff to routinely engage and collaborate with those organizations that impact the health care environment and delivery of oral health care…so as to maintain the core values of the profession to build the profession’s and the public’s trust in the ADA’s effectiveness as the nation’s leading advocate for oral health.”

Res. 39H-2010 also emphasizes “that all such engagement and dialogue be framed within the context of policies adopted by the ADA’s House of Delegates.”