In response to the millions of Americans who are without proper oral health care the American Dental Association published a series of papers earlier this week that discusses the importance and power of prevention when it comes to oral diseases. The ADA promotes prevention as the most cost-effective way to ensure the dental health of all Americans. While the ADA continues to address factors like location, availability, income and cultural barriers, the surest way to achieve optimal oral health is through the prevention of serious complications. Ultimately it is the goal of the ADA to offer the option of oral health care and dentistry to all who seek it, but until that is achieved prevention should be promoted as a means of achieving oral health.
Speaking Out For “Silent Epidemic”
Through this series of papers the ADA aims to break down the barriers that prevent oral health literacy and redirect the public conversation away from making oral health treatment services available to everyone and instead focus on achieving oral health now. Nearly a quarter of the United States’ children lack access to dental care. Many are believed to be “suffering silently” from oral disease. The ADA believes prevention could address many of these issues.
The papers compared the costs of treating a common dental issue, a cavity. To treat a cavity the tooth must be filled and occasionally a root canal procedure is necessary. The cost of either of these procedures is significantly more than the cost of preventing them through maintained oral health. Some examples the paper provided of prevention were:
The application of a fluoride component.
A dentist examination.
A dental cleaning.
The application of a sealant to prevent the formation of cavities.
The paper totals the estimated costs of all of these preventative measures and compares it to the total costs of a treatment (e.g. filling). The preventative measures are hundreds of dollars cheaper. The Center for Disease Control has made one big step to cutting the costs of preventative measures further through community water fluoridation.
The series of papers aims to promote several different aspects of prevention other than cost based motivation, including:
The benefit of improved surveillance and observation of oral disease in patients. This way the ADA can more readily recognize groups of people or circumstances that make people more susceptible to oral disease and target them with further prevention.
Teach the public about the effect dental health can have on overall health by communicating this to other health providers and practitioners. That is to say, many different people don’t hear about the importance of oral health because they’ve never visited a dentist. However, many of these people have visited a general practitioner. This is an opportunity for them to learn about the importance of oral health.
Educating parents of young children particularly. Young children are particularly susceptible to cavities and the importance of oral health is best instilled at a young age.
Take a look at the papers here and learn a little more about the ADA’s initiatives. Also, be sure to visit your dentist and speak with them about the importance of oral health! Dr. Lance Jue of A Beautiful Smile At Lake Point is ready to share all he knows. Call today!