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ADA Releases Second in Series of Breaking Down Barriers to Oral Health Papers

The ADA has just released Breaking Down Barriers to Oral Health for All Americans: Repairing the Tattered Safety Net, the second in a series of papers that examines the challenges and solutions to bringing good oral health to millions of Americans who currently do not receive adequate dental care.

Repairing the Tattered Safety Net's primary messages include:

  • "Safety net" is a misleading term. There is no real system, and the various components lack coordination and communication.
  • Prevention is essential. A public health model based on the surgical intervention in disease that could have been prevented, after that disease has occurred, is a poor model.
  • Everyone deserves a dentist.
  • The availability of clinical services alone will not maximize utilization.
  • Treating the disease without educating the patient is a wasted opportunity.
  • Administrative reforms and minor funding increases can yield major improvements in private practice dentists' participation in safety net programs.
  • We must take the "silent" out of the "silent epidemic." All levels of our society suffer from the failure to adequately understand the value of oral health.
  • Organized dentistry is solution-oriented and has the best grasp of the big picture.

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.

To find out more, download "Breaking Down Barriers" paper (PDF).