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Dental Tribune U.S. Edition

DENTAL TRIBUNE | December 2011 News 5A Since 2002, the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation (DTAF) has granted more than $780,000 to 40 major research projects designed to increase access to oral health care in America. The 2011 grant recipients listed here are making a difference that will be felt for generations. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), $25,000 Dental caries is the most common chronic disease of early childhood, and many young children are not able to access a dentist for early pre- ventive oral health care. To address this gap, the AAP has worked to edu- cate pediatricians and other health professionals about the importance of oral health and how to incorporate oral health services (oral screening, anticipatory guidance, risk assess- ment, referral to a dental home and fluoride varnish) into their practices. The AAP, with funding from the American Dental Association Foun- dation, has built a network of 53 trained Chapter Oral Health Advo- cates (COHAs). A COHA is a pedi- atrician representing an AAP state chapter who has been trained in oral health and incorporating oral health services into the medical home. Through funding from the DTAF, the AAP will provide training grants and oral health kits to COHAs to support their efforts to train practices about oral health services. The Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP), $25,000 The CDHP was instrumental in craft- ing and ensuring the inclusion of 18 significant oral health provisions in the recently passed health reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Among changes the ACA will bring is increased access to dental ser- vices as millions more children will receive dental coverage in the com- ing years from both public and pri- vate coverage. Dental Trade Alliance Foundation awards 2011 grants State policymakers and regula- tors play a significant role in the implementation of these oral health improvements, including their inte- gration with existing public pro- grams. However, federal regulatory guidance is necessary for states to move forward. More than a decade of experience by CDHP provides a base for this his- toric opportunity to work with Con- gress and state advocates to advance access to care through ACA, but the effort is in jeopardy due to federal and state budgets. DTAF funds will help CDHP edu- cate regulators about the need to expand access to dental care and implement cost effective strategies to improve oral health. Metropolitan State University, $25,000 Metropolitan State University has initiated a program to increase den- tal care in Minnesota by preparing Advanced Dental Therapists (ADTs) to provide community-based care for underserved populations. Based upon Minnesota statute 150A.01, individuals prepared for this unique scope of practice focus on treating and preventing dental disease in settings not reached by existing dental care teams, such as nursing homes, homeless shelters and schools. To prepare ADTs for this role and provide clinical experience in diverse communities, Metropolitan State University is building an edu- cational dental clinic that simultane- ously prepares this new workforce and provides care to the diverse community. Metropolitan secured the neces- sary funds to build and equip the clinic. DTAF funds will be used to introduce the dental therapy role to the community, build awareness about clinic services and develop patient educational resources in multiple languages. Oral Health America (OHA), $25,000 The OHA Wisdom Tooth Project (WTP) seeks to improve the oral health of vulnerable older adults through five strategies, including development of a web portal for use by decision-makers in older adults’ oral health care. The portal will provide national and regional content and informa- tion. DTAF funds will be used for web portal research, specifically, to investigate the opportunities and resources available in one com- munity that the portal could pro- mote and link to. These findings will enable OHA to create a model for other regionally-focused portions of the future WTP site. This effort builds on OHA’s strategic planning for WTP in 2010, and in-depth stake- holder research under way at the national level. Dr. Ruth Goldblatt, in Connecti- cut, has agreed to serve as consul- tant by hosting a series of conver- sations with colleagues, advocates, caregivers and others statewide who are actively addressing barriers to care for geriatric patients. OHA’s proposed outcome: A framework for community engagement and a vision for the long-term sustainabil- ity of a web portal with meaningful regional content. University of Maryland, College Park, $12,500 In this pre-pilot project, which DTAF funds will help, the University of Maryland, College Park, is part- nering with educators and school nurses in the city of Seat Pleasant, Md., to educate at least 20 teens about their oral health and that of their child. The emphasis of the project is the importance of the mother’s oral health during pregnancy; how and where to get dental care; how to maintain oral health during and after pregnancy; fluoride regimes appropriate for them and their infants; how to prevent transmission of caries-causing bacteria to their infants; and how to promote good oral health in their children. Key health messages are rein- forced through monthly meetings and weekly communications (text messages/e-mail/regular mail). Par- ticipants will be followed until the infant is two years of age. University of Pittsburgh, Division of General Academic Pediatrics, $12,500 With early detection of the risk fac- tors for caries and effective counsel- ing on oral hygiene and dental care, many cases of early childhood caries can be prevented. Because children typically receive most medical care from primary care providers, this study, which DTAF will help fund, explores the role of pediatricians in assessing caries risk factors in children and examines potential interventions to promote improved oral hygiene. Goals are: 1) Determine if pediatricians can accurately identify visible plaque on the teeth of young children, as the American Academy of Pediatric Den- tistry (AAPD) recommends in assess- ing a child’s caries-risk. 2) Employ a longitudinal approach in evaluating the effectiveness of plaque disclosure to change oral hygiene practices and examination of young children at risk for early childhood caries. The outcomes of this study could lead to an enhanced use of primary care providers in evaluating children at risk for early childhood caries and, ultimately, in prevention of the disease. Congratulations to all of DTAF’s grant recipients and thanks to all of the foundation’s donors who make these grants possible. DT (Source: Dental Trade Alliance Foundation) to physicians about this, you begin to get more referrals from physicians who are treating and educating these patients. I often speak on panels with other health care providers at local meetings organized by the American Diabetes Association, initiators of the Stop Diabetes campaign. And because the folks from Colgate recognized the importance of oral health in this, they have supported this campaign, which I think is very important. When I speak as part of a dia- betes-education health care team, patients are already aware of what the podiatrist has to say, of what the ophthalmologist may be saying about their eyes and the cardiologist about cardiovascular disease. But when I start talking about the dental consid- erations, so many of them say to me, “I have never heard this before. No one’s ever discussed this with me.” It’s important for all of us in the pro- fession to share this knowledge not only with our patients but also with each other. Are there established, approved protocols for dental professionals to follow when treating patients who have diabetes or prediabetes? No, but maybe we will be going in that direction. There has been a sub- stantial effort by the American Dental Association to improve on continuing education in this area. There are efforts throughout the profession to improve on the transfer of knowl- edge from the published research to the practicing clinician. In the future there may be pro- grams where people may become certified to manage higher-risk patients, such as people with diabetes or cardiovascular disease. There has been great interest by all members of the profession. Not just dentists, but hygienists and dental assistants are interested in how to better manage these patients. You’re beginning to see practices develop protocols that are tailored to the provision of care to people with diabetes. DT About the interviewee Maria Emanuel Ryan, DDS, PhD, is a tenured full professor in the Department of Oral Biology and Pathology at the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medi- cine and a member of the medical staff at University Hospital at Stony Brook University Medical Center. She has published more than 75 scholarly works and speaks fre- quently on emerging therapeu- tics, connections between oral and systemic health and the need for early detection of periodontal disease and oral cancer.