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Action for Dental Health

Breaking Down Barriers

Child at the dentist

Most Americans have access to the best oral health care in the world and, as a result, enjoy excellent oral health. But tens of millions still do not, owing to such factors as poverty, geography, lack of oral health education, language or cultural barriers, fear of dental care and the belief that people who are not in pain do not need dental care.

The ADA believes that all Americans deserve good oral health. We are committed to helping dentists, with their teams of allied personnel, provide the best level of care to all Americans who seek it; to increasing the prevalence of oral health literacy, which both prevents disease and educates the public as to how:

  • To get healthy and, more important, how to stay healthy;
  • To ensuring that when care is needed it is provided; and
  • To helping government and the private sector work together to end what former Surgeon General David Satcher famously called a “silent epidemic” of untreated oral disease.

The American Dental Association has released several in series of papers examining the challenges and solutions to bringing good oral health to the millions of Americans-including as many as one-quarter of the nation's children-who lack access to dental care, many of them suffering with untreated disease. At its essence, the "Breaking Down Barriers" series is part of a larger effort by the ADA to move the conversation away from rancorous debates over the scope of practice of various workforce models, and toward the much more significant barriers and solutions to improving oral health.

Download the ADA Series of Papers:

New ADA/NACHC Program Urges Collaboration Between Clinic Dentists and Private-Practice Counterparts

Believing that collaboration between private practice dentists and their counterparts in community health centers is an important part of any long-term strategy to improve access to health care for under-served populations, the ADA has teamed up with the National Association of Community Health Centers to increase awareness among their members of the importance of working together.

For example, increasing contractual relations between health centers and private dentists is a viable option for health centers that wish to establish or expand their oral health service capacity and offers advantages to all parties.

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Take action on critical legislation affecting oral health and dental care.