Join ADAMember Log In

IOM sought ADA input for women’s preventive care recommendations

Washington—Though none of the Institute of Medicine’s eight new recommendations for women’s preventive health care services specifically deal with oral health, several should still be of interest to the dental profession, said Dr. Gary Davis, chair of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations.

“In preparing these recommendations, the IOM asked the ADA to provide expert testimony on women’s oral health issues,” said Dr. Davis. “Several of them touch on women’s oral health concerns, including the role of human papillomavirus as a risk factor for oral cancer, screening and counseling for domestic violence, and regular preventive care services,” said Dr. Davis.

The IOM released the report, “Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps,” on July 19. The report and a brief summary can be found online at

On March 9, Dr. Lauren L. Patton provided expert testimony to the IOM on behalf of the ADA. In her presentation, Dr. Patton, president of the American Board of Oral Medicine and professor and chair, Department of Dental Ecology at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, emphasized that women have special oral health needs due to hormonal fluctuations over their lifetime that can affect screenings, treatment decisions and guidelines. She also stressed that gaps exist, including a lack of guidelines for maternal perinatal oral health, oral health promotion and disease prevention for women with eating disorders, and use of HPV vaccines to prevent oropharyngeal cancer in young adults.

The IOM asks that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services require health insurance plans to cover eight preventive services for women at no cost under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, including:

  • screening for gestational diabetes;
  • HPV testing as part of cervical cancer screening for women over 30;
  • counseling on sexually transmitted infections;
  • counseling and screening for human immunodeficiency virus;
  • contraceptive methods and counseling to prevent unintended pregnancies;
  • lactation counseling and equipment to promote breast-feeding;
  • screening and counseling to detect and prevent interpersonal and domestic violence;
  • yearly well-woman preventive care visits to obtain recommended preventive services.

The full IOM report also identifies gaps in women’s preventive health care services with links to oral health, including calls for additional research for bone and cardiovascular health.

The ADA continues to work on a variety of initiatives related to women’s oral health issues, Dr. Davis added.

“CAPIR is working with the Health Resources and Services Administration and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to develop recommendations for perinatal oral health and CAPIR is also working with the ADA Publishing Division’s Department of Product Development and Sales to include a chapter on women’s oral health issues in a new oral health textbook,” said Dr. Davis.