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  • Oral Health Alliance's Emerging Framework for Action Released
    July 14, 2014
    The U.S. National Oral Health Alliance has released its "Emerging Framework for Action," which is meant to serve as a catalyst to encourage the alignment of efforts by all who are working to improve oral health across the country.
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  • Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation Helps Expand Children's Access to Dental Care
    May 29, 2014
    The Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation has awarded Rice Regional Dental Clinic a $561,000 grant to expand access to oral healthcare for infants and young children in the clinic's 17-county service area.
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  • Maine Oral Health Funders Awards $100,000 for Children's Oral Health
    May 28, 2014
    The Maine Oral Health Funders awarded nearly $100,000 to six organizations to develop community-based strategies to prevent dental disease in children through a combination of prevention activities and service coordination.
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  • New Report Examines School-Based Dental Sealant Programs
    May 15, 2014
    The Children's Dental Health Project has released a new report examining the factors that influence school-based dental sealant programs' success and sustainability.
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  • New Report: Improving Integration of Dental Health Benefits in Health Insurance Marketplaces
    April 29, 2014
    The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) convened state and federal marketplace officials, dental stakeholders, and national experts to identify issues related to coverage, benefit design and affordability, concerns with implementation to date, and potential policy and program solutions that can be implemented in future years. This report was supported by the DentaQuest Foundation.
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  • Missouri Foundation for Health Supports Adult Dental Services
    April 22, 2014
    The Missouri Foundation for Health has awarded a four-year, $450,000 grant to Cox Medical Center Branson to provide support for dental staff and the necessary resources to accommodate 1,700 annual dental visits from poor and uninsured adults in the community.
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  • Maine Health Access Foundation Supports Dental Safety Net Clinics
    April 16, 2014
    The Maine Health Access Foundation has awarded grants to six dental safety net clinics to support their continued capacity to provide high quality dental care for low-income individuals.
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  • Study Finds Dental ER Visits Cost $1 Billion Annually
    April 4, 2014
    A new study published in the April edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association finds that emergency department for dental problems cost about $1 billion annually.
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  • DentaQuest Foundation Renews Grants for Seven States
    March 19, 2014
    The DentaQuest Foundation has renewed funding for seven state organizations participating in its Oral Health 2014 Initiative to implement their oral health action plans.
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  • Pew Report Examines Dental Therapists in Private Practices
    February 14, 2014
    The Pew Charitable Trusts released a new report that provides case studies of dental therapists operating in private dental practices, including an examination of the early costs to and daily function within private practice.
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  • DentaQuest Foundation Reveals 2014-2020 Funding Strategy
    February 10, 2014
    The DentaQuest Foundation has unveiled its "Oral Health For All 2020" initiative: a new funding strategy for 2014 and beyond.
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  • AAPD Releases First Report on State of Children's Dental Health
    February 3, 2014
    The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) released its first "State of Little Teeth Report."
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  • Three Delta Dental Foundations Make Over $1.5 Million in Grants
    February 3, 2014
    Three Delta Dental foundations have announced grant awards totaling over $1.5 million to various oral health programs in New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, and Minnesota for 2014.
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  • Pew Report Examines Lack of Access to Dental Care
    January 27, 2014
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  • DentaQuest Foundation Supports Oral Health Pilot Project for Diabetics
    January 16, 2014
    The DentaQuest Foundation has awarded a $186,000 grant to the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin to support a pilot project aimed at improving the oral health of diabetics through research, patient education, provider and staff education, and development of health information technology used to improve patient care.
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  • DentaQuest Foundation Renews State Implementation Grants
    January 10, 2014
    The DentaQuest Foundation has announced the renewal of all the state grants within its Oral Health 2014 Initiative
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  • Dentists Form New Organization to Improve Access to Care
    November 21, 2013

    A national coalition of dentists has formed a new membership organization, Dentists for Oral Health Innovation (DOHI), with the goal of improving access to dental care in the United States. Through philanthropy, advocacy, and continuing education and technology, the organization seeks to expand access to quality, affordable dental care using advancing models and methods, such as helping dentists use more efficient scheduling systems and working to commit time, resources, and support to charitable care. Current DOHI members include solo and group practice dentists, with the goal of expanding to include dental labs and manufacturers.

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  • Pew Report Examines Community College and Workforce Investment Board Roles
    November 21, 2013

    Children's Dental Policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts has released a new report examining the role community colleges and workforce development boards can play in expanding the dental team and improve access to care. The report, Growing the Dental Workforce: The Critical Role of Community Colleges and Workforce Investment Boards, also offers guidance on how these institutions can cultivate support and leverage existing resources to develop education programs and employment opportunities for alternative dental practitioners.

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  • Expert Panel Releases Standards for Dental Therapy Education
    November 1, 2013
    A panel of national experts, convened by Community Catalyst with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, has released a report offering a core set of national standards for dental therapy education. The report, Recommended Standards for Dental Therapy Education Programs in the United States, was developed in response to growing interest and demand across the country in dental therapy practice models. The goal of the report is to provide guidance to states, tribes, policymakers, educational institutions, and other stakeholders to help ensure quality and consistency for new and existing dental therapy programs.
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  • Delta Dental Foundation of Kansas Awards Grant to Correctional Facility
    October 25, 2013
    The Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation awarded a $25,000 grant to the Topeka Correctional Facility to purchase dental lab equipment and supplies to make dentures for its inmate technician training program. The dentures created by the inmates are sent to safety net clinics that treat the medically underserved patients, and this grant will help broaden the students' training and increase productivity.
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  • Wrigley Company Foundation Community Announces 2013 Service Grants Awards
    October 15, 2013
    The Wrigley Company Foundation announced the recipients of its 2013 Service Grants Award program, a program established in conjunction with the American Dental Hygienists' Association's National Dental Hygiene Month in 2010. The grant program will provide $120,000 over two years in amounts of $2,500 and $5,000 to 13 community-based organizations providing dental hygiene care to those with limited access to oral healthcare.
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  • Report on Oral Health for Older Americans Finds Many States Falling Short
    October 9, 2013
    A new report from Oral Health America, A State of Decay, finds that many states are falling short in providing oral health care options for older Americans. In all, the report gave 17 states a "poor" rating based on five state-level variables: adult Medicaid dental benefits, inclusion of older adults in state oral health plans, edentulism, dental health professional shortage areas, and community water fluoridation. The report cites limited access to dental insurance, affordable dental services, fluoridated water, and programs that support oral health prevention and education for older adults as the major shortcomings hindering good oral health for older adults. To overcome these barriers, the report recommends alternative workforce models, expanded Medicare and Medicaid coverage, and education for older Americans and their caregivers as potential solutions.
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  • CMS Releases Strategy Guide to Increase Dental Access and Utilization for Children
    September 27, 2013

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a brand new strategy guide to help states increase children's access to and utlization of oral health services. Keep Kids Smiling: Promoting Oral Health Through the Medicaid Benefit for Children and Adolescents focuses on four major strategies: improving state Medicaid program performance through policy changes, maximizing provider participation in Medicaid, directly addressing children and families; and partnering with oral health stakeholders. The guide, recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, offers a wide variety of successful examples of each strategy, with the goal of helping states meet the CMS Oral Health Initiative goals.

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  • New CDC State Oral Health Cooperative Agreements Announced
    September 6, 2013
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded cooperative agreements to 21 states to support state infrastructure development and implementation of prevention programs.
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  • ADA Foundation Awards New Children's Dental Health Grants
    August 16, 2013
    The ADA Foundation has awarded more than $114,000 in grants from the Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children's Dental Health to 24 nonprofit organizations across the country in support of programs that improve children's dental health by educating parents, caregivers, and pregnant women on the value of good dental health. The foundation created the Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children's Dental Health in 1999 through a permanent endowment established through a generous gift by Dr. Samuel D. Harris, a distinguished pediatric dentist and philanthropist. Grants of up to $5,000 are awarded through a competitive process to aid dental community programs designed to help improve children's dental health.
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  • DentaQuest Foundation Awards Grant to Oral Health Kansas
    August 1, 2013
    The DentaQuest Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Oral Health Kansas, the state's oral health advocacy organization, to improve access to oral healthcare in the state. As part of the foundation's Oral Health 2014 initiative, this program will develop local pilot programs to strengthen local dental care, identify barriers to access and sustainable financial remedies, and investigate models to improve the dental care delivery system and reimbursement. The program will be conducted in collaboration with the Kansas Dental Association, Kansas Hospital Association, Leading Age Kansas, and the Kansas Health Care Association.
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  • Caring for Colorado Foundation Announces New Oral Health Grants
    July 29, 2013
    The Caring for Colorado Foundation announced $278,000 in new grants to support oral health in Colorado. The grants include $25,000 to the Dental Lifeline Network to support its volunteer dentists program for the disabled, elderly, and/or medically compromised, $100,000 to the Inner City Health Center to support its dental clinic program, $30,000 to the Health District of Northern Larimer County to support its Dental Connections program that provides oral health care to low income, underserved adults via a community partnership that engages local dentists to provide pro-bono care, $33,000 to Total Oral Prevention Strategies to support its Colorado Total Smiles program that expands the availability of oral health services to high-need, vulnerable children and adults, and $90,000 to the Rural Communities Resource Center to support its Oral Health Access program that provides oral health education, prevention activities, and restorative care to underserved children.
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  • New Director of the CDC Division of Oral Health
    July 24, 2013
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the selection of a new director of the Division of Oral Health. Kansas state dental director, Katherine Weno, who has served as the director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Bureau of Oral Health since 2006, has been selected to fill the role. She will take over the role from Acting Director, and the Chief Dental Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, William Bailey on October 6.
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  • Delta Dental Foundation of Minnesota Supports State Coalition
    July 19, 2013
    The Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation has awarded $300,000 to the Minnesota Oral Health Coalition to support the group's infrastructure and activities over the next three years. The coalition, established in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health’s Oral Health Program, is a membership-based organization dedicated to promoting sound public oral health programs and policies in Minnesota. The grant will be used to hire staff, which will focus on education and outreach about the benefits and potential cost savings of community water fluoridation.
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  • DentaQuest Foundation Awards New Oral Health Safety Net Grants
    July 12, 2013
    The DentaQuest Foundation has announced a new round of $100,000 grants being awarded to the state primary care associations (PCA) in Alaska, California, Iowa, and Tennessee through its Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net initiative. The Alaska Primary Care Association will promote oral healthcare integration with primary care services. The California Primary Care Association will elevate oral health and dental practice issues and expand participation in national, statewide, and regional oral health workgroups and advisory groups. The Iowa Primary Care Association will connect with other state and national partners, enhance skills at the local level, and cultivate a culture of quality for oral health services in the state's federally qualified health centers. The Tennessee Primary Care Association will create an oral health program and a dental workgroup with representatives from community health centers.
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  • Health Foundation of South Florida Invests in Oral Health Services
    July 9, 2013
    The Health Foundation of South Florida has recently announced over $1 million in grants, including a number of oral health related programs. In Miami-Dade county, the foundation awarded a grant of $50,000 to Dade County Dental Research Clinic for the purchase and use of oral health specialty care diagnostic equipment and a $55,000 grant to Miami-Dade County Health Department to operate a mobile dental van that provides preventive oral healthcare to children in South Dade County. In Broward County, the foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center so they can provide oral health services to 700 children and adolescents with special health care needs.
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  • New NIDCR Grant to Advance Research Linking Oral Bacteria to Fetal Death
    July 9, 2013
    The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) has announced a new four-year, $1.58 million grant being awarded to Yiping Han of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. The grant will support research into the linkage between certain oral bacteria and fetal death. Dr. Han's previous research has already linked oral bacteria to stillbirth, postbirth sepsis, and premature births due to inflammation in the placenta, which is supposed to be bacteria-free. This research will include delving into how and why these particular bacteria enter the uterus and placenta in an effort to develop preventative measures.
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  • DentaQuest Foundation Awards Grant to Support Youth Mentoring Initiative
    July 2, 2013
    The DentaQuest Foundation has awarded a $369,500 grant to the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation: America’s ToothFairy (NCOHF) to support its Youth Mentoring Initiative and expand its Students United for America’s ToothFairy chapters across the nation. The Youth Mentoring Initiative elevates the importance of oral health, highlights the inextricable link between oral and systemic health, and encourages positive behavioral change among teens and children. This nationwide mentoring program, which builds on strong NCOHF partnerships with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the National Association of School Nurses, provides community youth organizations, clubs, and individual students with engaging bilingual oral health lessons that can be easily integrated into current leadership activities.
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  • Cleveland Foundation Announces Grant to Modernize Dental Safety Net Clinic
    July 1, 2013
    The Cleveland Foundation has announced a new grant for $200,000 to be awarded to Case Western Reserve University’s School of Dental Medicine for updates to its 45-year-old Community Dental Clinic. The improvements will include the addition of new computer and health information technology capacities. The clinic is the largest oral health safety-net provider in northeast Ohio with 85,000 patient visits and care estimated at $5.2 million in 2012.
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  • Pew Publishes Brief on Dental Provider Shortages
    June 25, 2013
    The Pew Children's Dental Campaign has published a new report, with an accompanying infographic, that explores two critical dental access issues for low-income families: the uneven distribution of dentists nationwide and the relatively small number of dentists who participate in Medicaid. In Search of Dental Care: Two Types of Dentist Shortages Limit Children's Access to Care also examines the strategies states are employing to address these workforce shortages in order to serve low-income children, with a particular focus on alternative provider models.
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  • Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation Awards Oral Health Grants
    June 4, 2013
    The Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation announced that it has awarded more than $450,000 in grants to 37 organizations across the state that promote oral health and disease prevention, with individual awards ranging in size from $1,000 to $15,000. “This grant cycle really brought forth creative ideas from the community on how to positively impact the oral health of Arizona’s children,” said Sandi Perez, vice president of communications and community benefit for Delta Dental of Arizona. “Those out-of-the-box ideas compelled us to award the most money in a single year since the foundation started and we couldn't be more thrilled.”
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  • Connecticut Health Foundation Funds Training Program
    June 3, 2013
    The Connecticut Health Foundation awarded a grant of nearly $125,000 to the University of Connecticut Health Center in May to develop a new educational program of study to help future health care professionals be better prepared and motivated to promote the oral health of low-income pregnant women.
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  • Kentucky Health Issues Poll Highlights Oral Health Issues
    June 3, 2013
    The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati have released new data from the 2012 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP), which show that 1.7 million Kentucky adults do not have dental insurance. Other findings include: more than half (51 percent) of Kentucky adults reported having no dental insurance of any kind and nearly half of that number (49 percent) forwent dental care or check-ups in the past year because of the cost. Furthermore, 39 percent said they do not have a personal dentist or oral health provider, and almost 8 in 10 (79 percent) of those without a personal dentist or oral health provider indicated they last visited a dentist or dental clinic more than five years ago. Sixty-one percent of Kentucky adults reported having visited a dentist or dental clinic within the past year, compared to 70 percent of adults nationwide.
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  • Study Finds Dental Therapists Expand Access to Services
    May 15, 2013
    Community Catalyst has released a new study examining the impact of dental therapists practicing in Alaska and Minnesota on access to oral health services. The study has found that dental therapists have made significant improvements in remote areas, for those covered by public insurance, and children. Among the study's findings, researchers found that dental therapists expanded access to more than 40,000 people in rural areas in Alaska, that 78 percent of people served by therapists in Minnesota are publicly insured, and nearly 85 percent of all services provided by dental therapists in both states are routine and preventive.
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  • Brief Examines ACA Pediatric Oral Health Benefits
    April 4, 2013
    Health Reform GPS, a project of the George Washington University and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has released a new brief, "Access to Pediatric Oral Health Benefits offered through Health Insurance Exchanges." The brief provides an assessment of current Administration policy regarding access to children’s oral health benefits and identifies an emerging set of policy issues that in turn may be creating a policy misalignment between children’s oral health coverage and the premium credits and cost-sharing reduction assistance to which their families are entitled.
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  • Connecticut Health Foundation Examines Effectiveness of Medicaid Program Reforms
    April 2, 2013
    The Connecticut Health Foundation has released a brief, "Impact of Increased Dental Reimbursement Rates On HUSKY A-Insured Children: 2006 – 2011." The brief examines the impact of increased dental reimbursement rates and improved program administration on the state’s Medicaid program for low-income families, HUSKY A, on utilization rates, private dentist participation, and the relative contributions of private practices and dental safety net providers. The data show positive results, including improved utilization rates for children continuously enrolled in the Medicaid program (46 percent in 2006 to 70 percent in 2011) and increased provider participation.
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  • Pew Releases Brief Examining Dental Therapists in New Zeland
    March 20, 2013
    The Pew Children's Dental Campaign has released a new brief examining New Zealand’s use of dental therapists to provide care for children. New Zealand has been using dental therapists in school settings since 1921, the longest of any country in the world, and their country's experience can provide invaluable insights into how alternative, or midlevel, dental providers can expand children’s access to dental care, prevent and treat tooth decay, and improve public health. This brief examines their effect on oral health and access to treatment in New Zealand and provides policy lessons and considerations for U.S. policymakers.
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  • Results of Medicaid EPSDT Guidelines Survey Released
    March 5, 2013
    Commissioned by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the results of a 2011 survey of state Medicaid early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment (EPSDT) guidelines have been published in this month's issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. The survey finds that most states adhere to the AAPD recommendations for infant and toddler oral health practices at a reasonable level; however, researchers had difficulty accessing some of states' EPSDT guidelines and the information was sometimes contradictory, raising concerns about practitioner confusion.
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  • Periodontal Treatment Reduces Costs Associated with Heart Disease
    March 1, 2013
    A new study conducted by United Concordia finds that annual medical costs are lower for individuals with heart disease or cerebrovascular disease who are treated for periodontal disease. Researchers found patients treated for periodontal disease saw their medical expneses reduced by $2,956 and $1,029 for heart disease and cerebrovascular disease respectively. Cost reductions were the result of significant reductions in hospitalizations, physician visits, overall medical costs per year, and drug costs. This is the largest study conducted to date that has found a linkage between oral health treatment and reduced medical costs.
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  • IOM Releases Oral Health Literacy Report
    February 21, 2013
    The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Roundtable on Health Literacy has released a report based on the oral health literacy workshop held in March of 2012. At the workshop, the roundtable reviewed the research on oral health literacy and how it is being translated into practice. Additionally, the roundtable investigated the intersection between oral health literacy and health literacy.
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  • New Children's Oral Health Initiative Launched in Philadelphia
    February 20, 2013
    With a $1 million grant to the Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry, the United Health Foundation, along with funding from UnitedHealthcare, has helped launch a new children's oral health initiative in Philadelphia. The project's goal is to improve access to oral health care for children under the age of six and their families enrolled in Medicaid, starting initially in North Philadelphia. An oral health registry will be created to identify children most at risk, using dental claims and operating and emergency department data. Community health workers will work with these families to educate them and schedule dental appointments. Public health dental hygienists will provide in-home care and preventive treatments. The project will also train primary care providers to conduct dental screenings and apply dental varnish and general dentists on how to treat young children.
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  • Survey Finds More Oral Health Concerns
    February 7, 2013
    Coinciding with National Children's Dental Health Month, Delta Dental has published the findings of its 2013 Children's Oral Health Survey. A survey of nearly 1,000 caregivers, the results show that a large majority of Americans remain unaware that adults can pass oral bacteria to children that cause cavities. The survey also finds that caregivers need to improve on basic children's dental health habits, such as brushing and flossing.
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  • Pew Report Finds Dental Sealant Programs "Falling Short"
    January 8, 2013
    The Pew Children's Dental Campaign has released a new report, "Falling Short: Most States Lag on Dental Sealants." In 2010 and 2011, Pew released reports grading all 50 states and the District of Columbia on children's dental health, but chose to focus on sealants for this iteration. Overall, the report finds that 40 percent of states and the District of Columbia earned either a "D" or "F" grade when it comes to providing children with dental sealants, concluding that school-based sealant programs remain an underutilized preventive strategy.
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  • ADA Study Suggests Poor Evidence For Midlevel Practitioners
    January 7, 2013

    The American Dental Association (ADA) has published a literature review of the research on irreversible procedures performed by alternative, or midlevel, dental providers in the January 2013 edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association. The ADA study concludes there is too little evidence to compare the effectiveness of alternative providers with dentists, and that the current body of research is of poor quality. According to this literature review, the research to-date has found some groups treated by midlevel providers had fewer caries over time, while others showed no difference in the overall rate of caries when compared to dentists. The study also found no data indicating alternative providers are more cost-effective than dentists. Furthermore, the study's authors conclude that alternative dental providers do not improve access to oral care.

    Several organizations and experts have responded critically to this study, including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Pew Children's Dental Campaign. Both foundations note that the ADA study actually confirms that alternative dental providers provide treatment and care that is safe and equal to the quality of dentists for the procedures they are trained to perform.

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  • DentaQuest Foundation Launches New Initiative
    January 2, 2013

    The DentaQuest Foundation is launching a new initiative, The Innovation Fund for Oral Health – Supporting Inventive Strategies to Promote Systems Change in Oral Health. Geared towards funding nonprofit organizations, its goal is to foster inventive ideas that lead to systems change that reduces and eliminates barriers to accessing oral health care services and promotes community-based prevention strategies. An informational webinar will be held on January 9, 2013, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET.

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  • Colorado Trust Releases Survey Report on Dental Insurance Coverage and Access
    December 11, 2012
    The Colorado Trust has released its latest Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) report on dental coverage and access. Among its findings, the CHAS report found that the number of Coloradans without dental insurance increased from 1.8 million in 2009 to 2.1 million in 2011, a 17 percent increase. The CHAS report also indicates that more than 2.5 times as many Coloradans were without dental insurance than were without health insurance in 2011. Dental insurance coverage was even more pronounced among Hispanics, with 53 percent reporting that they lack dental insurance, a significantly higher number than whites (39 percent) and blacks (30 percent) in Colorado. There was one noteable improvement: an additional 66,300 children, ages 0-18, had dental insurance in 2011 than in 2009. In addition to its detailed findings, the CHAS report procides a number of policy recommendations for addressing the decrease in access to oral healthcare, including increased access to dental insurance, better benefit packages for dental insurance, and expanding the oral health workforce, especially in rural areas.
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  • Brief Details Dental Emergency Department Usage
    November 29, 2012
    A new statistical brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), "Emergency Department Visits for Dental-Related Conditions, 2009" examines national data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) regarding treatment of dental-related emergency department (ED) visits. The brief finds, among other highlights, that rural EDs had twice as many dental-related visits compared to large metropolitan areas and dental-related ED visits were four times higher among patients from the lowest income communities than from patients from the highest income communities. The brief also finds that nearly 937,000 ED visits were related to dental conditions in 2009: a 16 percent increase from 2006.
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  • Issue Brief Examines Oral Health in the Affordable Care Act
    November 1, 2012
    A new issue brief released by the Alliance for Health Reform, "Oral Health and the Affordable Care Act: Only Part Way to the Finish Line", identifies provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that expanded dental coverage, primarily for kids, and call for oral health education. Drawing on the Alliance's recent Congressional Briefing on the subject, the brief in particular focuses on those provisions in the law that remain funded and the shortfalls of the law in regards to providing dental coverage for adults, especially minorities and the poor who are at the highest risk for disease. The brief also examines some state legislative proposals to train and license mid-level practitioners to help address the oral health needs of communities. This issue brief was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
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  • Study Reveals Factors Affecting Dental Service Utilization By Elderly
    November 1, 2012

    A new study conducted by the University of Maryland and published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry finds that older Americans use less dental care as wealth and income decrease once household wealth falls by 50% or more. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, researchers also noted other trends for older adults, including a steady rise overall of dental utilization for the 65 and older age group in the U.S. since 1977 and that women were nearly 60 percent more likely to have visited a dentist than men. The study also finds that the odds of using dental care are higher for older Americans who are white non-Hispanic, married, dentate, college graduates, in excellent or very good health, and who have dental coverage, while odds are lower for those who are black non-Hispanic or other race/ethnicity, widowed or divorced, edentulous, not college graduates, in good, fair, or poor health, and who have no dental coverage.

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  • DentaQuest Foundation Expands Safety Net Initiative
    October 1, 2012
    The DentaQuest Foundation has expanded its Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative to include five new state/regional primary care associations in the program's second year. The new grantees are the Michigan Primary Care Association; Mississippi Primary Health Care Association; Ohio Association of Community Health Centers; Oregon Primary Care Association; and Bi-State Primary Care Association of New Hampshire & Vermont. The current grantees includes the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers, the Georgia Association for Primary Health Care, the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved, and the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers. The grants are designed to help promote oral health leadership, develop oral health expertise, encourage collaboration among dental and medical programs, and advance safety net oral health needs at the state level.
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  • Study Finds Link Between Oral Bacteria and Pancreatic Cancer
    October 1, 2012
    A new study funded by the National Cancer Institute has found a potential causal link between antibodies for multiple oral bacteria and risk for pancreatic cancer. Published in the September edition of Gut, the study of more than 800 European adults, selected from an initial pool of over 500,000 patients, found that high antibody levels for one of the more infectious periodontal bacterium strains of Porphyromonas gingivalis were associated with a twofold risk for pancreatic cancer, while study subjects with high levels of antibodies for some kinds of harmless "commensal" oral bacteria were associated with a 45% lower risk of pancreatic cancer. This is the first study to test whether antibodies for oral bacteria are indicators of pancreatic cancer risk and the first study to associate the immune response to commensal bacteria with pancreatic cancer risk. The physiological mechanism linking oral bacteria and pancreatic cancer remains unknown, but the study strengthens the suggestion that there is one, according to the researchers.
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  • Study Finds Child Care Centers Need to Improve on Oral Health and Nutrition
    September 19, 2012
    A new study published in the July/August edition of Pediatric Dentistry finds that child care center regulations in most states don't support the health standards set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. On average, state child care regulations cover only a third of the oral health standards and half of the nutrition standards for early care and education programs. "Considering the rising rates of both obesity and dental caries among preschool children, child care can be an important point of intervention in today's society," said lead study author Juhee Kim. "We hope that the findings will prompt child care providers to develop and implement comprehensive feeding and oral healthcare policies."
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  • New Issue Brief on Improving Oral Health of Pregnant Woman and Young Children
    September 7, 2012
    In collaboration with the Washington Dental Service Foundation, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, and March of Dimes, the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center has released a new issue brief, Improving the Oral Health of Pregnant Women and Young Children: Opportunities for Policymakers. The brief, developed for a policymaker audience, reviews the evidence-base, identifies current state guidelines, examines the liability issues for dentists and medical providers, and offers state level policy options to support the oral health of pregnant women and young children.
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  • Study Finds Nearly Half of Adults Have Periodontal Disease
    September 5, 2012
    A recent study published in the Journal of Dental Research finds that nearly half of adults over the age of 30 in the United States have periodontal disease. Using 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, the study finds 47.2 percent of adults and 70.1 percent of adults older than age 65 have some form of periodontal disease. The study also finds a number of disparities, with the prevalence of periodontal disease being higher among men than women and highest in Mexican Americans compared with other races. Current smokers, those living below the federal poverty level, and those with less than a high school education are also groups with higher periodontal disease prevalence. This is the first time the NHANES collected data using a full-mouth periodontal examination, which provided researchers with more complete and accurate oral health data than in previous years.
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  • DentaQuest Foundation Continuing Oral Health 2014 Initiative
    September 4, 2012
    The DentaQuest Foundation is preparing for the second round of funding for its Oral Health 2014 Initiative, which has the goal of helping to reverse oral health disparities by 2014. The first round provided funding to non-profit organizations in 20 states, and these organizations have been working to develop action plans to address one or more of six oral health improvement areas identified at a 2009 national meeting on oral health access. "We have asked for proposals in the $150,000 per year range, and we now have 20 proposals from the states. Our plan is to fund 17 of the 20. We wanted to make sure there was competition involved in the process," said Michael Monopoli, director of policy and planning at the DentaQuest Foundation. The winning proposals will be announced later this month after an intensive review process.
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  • Study Finds Link Between Oral Health and Dementia
    August 21, 2012
    A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by researchers at the University of California has found a correlation between daily teeth brushing and dementia. Researchers followed a cohort of nearly 5,500 elderly people over an 18-year-period and found that participants who reported brushing their teeth less than once a day were up to 65 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed daily. Dr. Annlia Paganini-Hill, the primary investigator of the study, theorizes that gum disease bacteria might get into the brain, causing inflammation and brain damage. The study's authors caution that their study has limitations. They only examined behavior and tooth numbers as a proxy for oral health and gum disease and did not conduct comprehensive dental exams. It also remains possible there are other contributing factors not accounted for in this study.
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  • New Children's Oral Health Media Campaign Announced
    August 15, 2012
    DentaQuest has announced of its Kids' Healthy Mouths campaign. Developed by the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, the campaign uses public service announcements aimed at educating parents and caregivers about how to improve oral health in children up to age 12 through preventive strategies. With a focus on low-income and minority parents and caregivers, the Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign offers 14 fun, two-minute videos their kids can watch while brushing, along with practical information about oral health.
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  • Study Finds Link Between Oral Health and Student Outcomes
    August 14, 2012

    A new study published in the September Journal of Public Health, "The Impact of Oral Health on the Academic Performance of Disadvantaged Children", found that socioeconomically disadvantaged students in the Los Angeles Unified School District with poor oral health had lower grades and more absences from school than those with good oral health. Also, students who experienced barriers to accessing dental care were more likely to miss school, while parents of students with poor oral health missed more work time on average to care for their children's dental problems.

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  • Study Raises Questions About Two Annual Dental Visit Standard
    August 8, 2012
    The University of Michigan School of Dentistry has released the results of the Periodontal Disease Prevention Study, which examined the effect of two annual dental cleanings on tooth loss. The study finds that low risk patients do not benefit from two annual dental cleanings, while high-risk patients do benefit from the extra treatment. The study had about 5,400 adult participants who had 16 consecutive years of documented oral health history, provided DNA samples, and provided information regarding other dental disease risk factors.
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  • New Community Grants Program Launched in Illinois
    August 6, 2012
    The Delta Dental Foundation of Illinois has released a call for proposals for a new oral health community grants program. The Foundation seeks to provide funding between $1,000 and $10,000 per year, up to three consecutive years, for programs and organizations that improve the oral health of children within the state of Illinois through improved access and/or oral health education and awareness building. Applications are due by October 1, 2012.
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  • White paper Examines Dental Therapists' Role in Expanding Dental Safety Net
    August 6, 2012
    A new white paper, "Expanding the Dental Safety Net: A First Look at How Dental Therapists Can Help," released by the Pew Children's Dental Campaign examines how dental therapists, as part of a dental team, can expand the capacity of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to treat more children. The white paper reviews new, Pew sponsored research from the University of Connecticut that suggests including dental therapists as providers in school-based programs operated by FQHCs could expand access to care for an estimated 6.7 million Medicaid-eligible children nationwide at a cost of approximately $1.8 billion: one-half of 1% of combined state and federal Medicaid spending in 2009. The white paper also includes policymaker and other stakeholder recommendations to support the development and systemic integration of allied dental providers.
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  • Reports Question Economic Sustainability of Alternative Providers
    July 26, 2012
    The American Dental Association has released a series of reports questioning the economic sustainability of alternative, or midlevel, dental providers. The reports, prepared by ECG Management Consultants, examined the economic viability of dental health aide therapists, dental therapists, and advanced dental hygiene practitioners in five states that are currently considering one of these models: Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, and Washington. ECG ran economic models using three payor mix scenarios for each alternative provider in each state using the following variables: length and cost of training, operating costs, likely salaries, academic debt, and projected revenues. Of the 45 scenarios modeled, five indicated positive net revenues, ranging from $8,000 to $38,000, while 40 scenarios showed net losses ranging from $1,000 to $176,000.
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  • Dental Coalition Requests Surgeon General's Report on Sugary Foods and Beverages
    July 24, 2012
    A national coalition of 16 dental organizations has requested that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, commission a U.S. Surgeon General's report to review the scientific literature and examine the linkages between the consumption of sugary foods and beverages and oral disease. "From a dental perspective, a steady diet of sugary foods and drinks, including juice and sports drinks, can damage teeth," the coalition stated. "A report from the Surgeon General will shine a light on this issue and, hopefully, generate fact-based policies around which the oral health community can coalesce." The letter also calls for an update of Surgeon General's reports on "Nutrition and Health" and "Oral Health in America."
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  • CDC Releases Report on Adult Oral Health
    July 19, 2012
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics has released a new report, "Oral Health Status and Access to Oral Health Care for U.S. Adults Aged 18–64: National Health Interview Survey, 2008," that reports on several indicators and statistics related to the oral health of adults. Among the many findings, the report found that the primary reason adults have forgone a dental visit for an oral health problem was cost. Of those who did not see a dentist in the past six months of the survey, 42% did so because they could not afford treatment or did not have insurance. The report also found that adults enrolled in Medicaid were almost five times as likely as adults with private health insurance to have poor oral health and that Medicaid adults (21%) were almost twice as likely as adults overall (12%) to not have had a dental visit in more than 5 years.
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  • Draft Research Plan on Early Childhood Carries Posted For Public Comment
    July 10, 2012
    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has posted the final draft of its research plan on the "Prevention of Dental Caries In Preschool-Aged Children" for public comment. The final plan will be used to guide a systematic review of the evidence by researchers at an evidence-based practice center. The resulting evidence report will form the basis of the USPSTF "Recommendation Statement on the Prevention of Dental Caries In Preschool-Aged Children". The draft research plan, which includes a proposed analytic framework, key research questions, and research approach, is available for review and public comment from July 10 to August 7.
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  • AAP Develops Oral Health Presentation
    July 2, 2012
    The American Accademy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed and released a new PowerPoint based on its Pediatric Guide to Oral Health Flip Chart and Reference Guide. The presentation is meant to assist pediatricians in counseling patients about oral health and applying fluoride varnish, but it can also be used to educate many audiences, including families and health professionals, on oral health.
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  • ADA Launches New Consumer Website
    July 2, 2012

    The American Dental Association (ADA) has created a new consumer website,, with prevention, care, and treatment information for attaining and maintaining good oral health. In addition to helping consumers find an ADA member dentist and ADA Seal of Acceptance products, the site also contains a dental IQ quiz to test people's oral health knowledge; videos, tips, and activities; and a special section to make oral health care fun for children.
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  • Kansas Health Foundation Launches Fluoridation Web Site
    July 2, 2012

    The Kansas Health Foundation has launched a new web site, FluorideFor.Us, as part of a campaign to educate Kansans about the health benefits of community water fluoridation. The campaign seeks to answer basic questions consumers have about fluoridation and promote water fluoridation as an effective oral health solution. The site supports numerous news articles, editorials, television and radio interviews, and ads on city buses, billboards, and the radio promoting community water fluoridation.

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  • Issue Module on Dental Care Released
    June 22, 2012
    The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a new Issue Module on dental care at The new module examines some of the many contributing factors to low use of dental care in a background brief. The module also examines factors contributing to the dental workforce shortage and its impact on access to care, providing links to key data, policy research, and organizations.
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  • DentaQuest Foundation Launches Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative
    June 21, 2012
    The DentaQuest Foundation has launched its new Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative. Though this Initiative, the Foundation seeks to build national, state, and local capacity to preserve and strengthen the oral health safety net that millions of uninsured and underserved Americans rely upon. Building on the success of the Massachusetts Primary Care Association, the Innitiative will fund state and regional primary care associations to increase the oral health expertise and capacity of community health centers at the national, state and community levels. “When healthcare reform goes into effect in 2014, nearly every child in the U.S. will have access to dental care, many for the first time,” said Ralph Fuccillo, DentaQuest Foundation President. “The DentaQuest Foundation is concerned that the oral health safety net in its current state will not be able to handle the volume of new individuals seeking care. The Strengthening the Oral Safety Net Initiative is an investment in the preservation and growth of existing and new programs for a stronger safety net.” A RFP has been posted on the Foundation's website, and grantees will be announced in August 2012.
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  • Fluoridation Grants Awarded in Michigan
    June 20, 2012
    With support from the Delta Dental Foundation, the Michigan Oral Health Coalition has awarded 11 grants for water fluoridation at its annual oral health conference. The grants will provide the means to supply or update water fluoridation equipment for the communities of Grand Haven, Holland, St. Joseph, Charlotte, Cedar Springs, Milford, Schoolcraft, Wayland, Norway, Midland, and East Lansing. “Close to seven million people in Michigan are already benefitting from optimally fluoridated water in communities across the state,” said Karlene Ketola, Executive Director of the Michigan Oral Health Coalition. “Through this grant program, the Michigan Department of Community Health, Delta Dental and these cities are helping to insure their community and residents have access to this health benefit.” This is the third year the Delta Dental Foundation has generously donated to the program.
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  • Dental Care May Be Improving For Medicaid Children
    June 18, 2012
    A new study published in the journal Pediatrics "indicate[s] that there have been some improvements in dental care for Medicaid-covered children in the past decade but that there remain deficits in most states." The study describes the use of oral health services among children enrolled for at least one month in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expansion programs and looks at the use of services by age, race, CHIP status, and type of insurance. Among other findings, the study reveals that the overall percentage of children receiving any oral health care did not exceed 50 percent in any state, but there was a median percentage increase of 16 percent for all states between 2002 and 2007.
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  • Comprehensive Dental Reform Act Introduced
    June 8, 2012

    U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont and U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland have introduced nearly identical legislation that Sanders' is calling "the most comprehensive dental care legislation in American history." The Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2012 would extend comprehensive dental coverage to millions of Medicare, Medicaid, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who lack it, increase spending to expand oral health services in communities that currently go without them, and boost oral health literacy and research programs. The bills would also increase funding for safety net clinics and create an emergency care coordination grants program to assist patients with urgent dental needs. Additionally, the legislation would boost federal contributions to state Medicaid programs by 10% to help pay for the delivery and administration of dental services in states where providers are paid not less than 70% of usual and customary fees, and where measures are put in place to make provider participation simpler. 

    The legislation would create an oral health professional student loan program and would authorize new demonstration programs for the training and employment of alternative dental healthcare providers through the federal departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Indian Health Service. The National Health Service Corps scholarships would be targeted at recruiting and supporting dentists and dental hygienists, as well as dental therapists, midlevel providers who receive technical training to provide care, including simple extractions and restorative procedures.

    The legislation would be funded through a new 2.5¢ tax on security transactions.

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  • CDC Releases New Data on Oral Health Disparities
    June 4, 2012
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics has released a new data brief on select oral health indicators highlighting existing oral health disparities in the United States. Using data from the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition National Examination Survey, researchers found that more than one in five people had untreated dental caries and 75 percent had existing dental restorations. Prevalence of untreated dental caries varied significantly by poverty level for all age groups. Untreated cavities were significantly more prevalent in Mexican-American and non-Hispanic black children and adolescents (23 percent), compared with non-Hispanic white children and adolescents (13 percent). The same held true for non-Hispanic black (40 percent) and Mexican-American (35 percent) adults compared with non-Hispanic white adults (19 percent).
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  • Adult Access to Dental Care Declined over Past Decade
    May 21, 2012
    A new study published by the Urban Institute, and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that adult access to dental care (as well as medical care) declined nationwide from 2000-2010. Using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for adults aged 19 to 64, researchers found that nationally and in nearly every individual state state that the number of adults receiving routine dental visits declined. The study, Virtually Every State Experienced Deteriorating Access to Care for Adults over the Past Decade, also found uninsured adults suffered decreased access more significantly than those with insurance, and that states with low rates of uninsured adults had better access to care than states with high uninsurance rates.
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  • HHS Innovation Project to Serve American Indians on the Rez
    May 15, 2012
    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a grant of $3.4 million to Delta Dental of South Dakota as one of the 26 Affordable Care Act innovation projects. Two dozen dental hygienists and community health workers will be trained to coordinate care and provide preventive oral health services to American Indian patients living on the reservations. The project will cover more than 30,000 "isolated, low-income and underserved" Medicaid beneficiaries and American Indians throughout the state and will save an estimated $6 million over three years.
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  • Foundation to Address Gaps in Oral Health Safety Net
    May 14, 2012
    The Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation has released a Request for Proposals for its "Oral Health Capacity Building Planning Grant: Addressing the Gaps in the Safety Net System" program. The program, which will award $50,000 per grantee over 12 months, encourages communities without adequate access to children's oral health services to develop a strategic plan to address their needs. The grant program is scheduled to launch October 1, 2012.
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  • NASBHC Announces New Oral Health Grantees
    May 9, 2012
    The National Assembly on School-Based Health Care (NASBHC), with funding from Kaiser Permanente, has announced a second round of grantees for its oral health training and technical assistance project. Twenty school-based health clinic organizations in ten states will participate in a 14-month quality assurance collaborative to enhance the capacity of school-based primary care clinicians to deliver oral health preventive services.
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  • ADA Report Address Financial Barriers to Access
    May 2, 2012
    The American Dental Association (ADA) has published a third paper in a series addressing access to oral health care. Breaking Down Barriers to Oral Health for All Americans: The Role of Finance explores the financial barriers hindering access to dental care, the various methods of paying for care, and provides recommendations for system reform.
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  • Colorado Foundations Release Joint Oral Health Brief
    April 25, 2012
    Building on the governor's prioritization of oral health in the state of Colorado, The Colorado Trust, Caring for Colorado Foundation, and Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation jointly issued a new brief, Improving the Oral Health of Colorado's Children. The brief examines the causes of oral disease, the state's oral health data, and the challenges to improving access to oral health care. It also offers multiple strategies for prevention and improving the oral health of Colorado children, focusing on public health, access to care, and public education strategies.
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  • Kellogg Report Reviews World Literature On Dental Therapists
    April 10, 2012

    The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has released a new study, A Review of the Global Literature on Dental Therapists: In the Context of the Movement to Add Dental Therapists to the Oral Health Workforce in the United States, reviewing more than 1,100 reports regarding dental therapists and their work in 54 different countries. The most extensive literature review conducted on the work and clinical outcomes of dental therapists worldwide, the study indicates that dental therapists offer safe and effective dental care to children and that the public values their role. The report also documents evidence that dental therapists can not only effectively expand access to dental care, especially for children, but also provide care that is technically competent, safe, and effective.

    “There is no question that dental therapists provide care for children that is high quality and safe. None of the 1,100 documents reviewed found any evidence of compromises to children’s safety or quality of care,” said David Nash, DMD, MS, EdD, author of the study. “Given these findings, the profession of dentistry should support adding dental therapists to the oral health care team.”

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  • Study Finds Periodontal Treatment Reduces Medical Costs for Diabetics
    April 9, 2012
    A new study, funded by United Concordia, has found that treating periodontal disease in diabetics resulted in a net savings to the health care system. The longitudinal study, lead by Majorie Jeffcoat of the University of Pennsylvania and presented at the American Association of Dental Research's annual meeting, collected insurance data from over 91,000 diabetic patients over a three-year period. The researchers compared medical costs of diabetic patients diagnosed with periodontal disease who received treatment and those who did not, finding those who received treatment saved the health care system $1,814 annually. Treated patients also required fewer hospitalizations and physician visits than diabetic patients who did not receive treatment for their periodontal disease.
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  • Kansas Health Foundation Campaigning for Oral Health
    March 13, 2012
    The Kansas Health Foundation has launched its “Truth About Teeth” campaign. Using a variety of media, including a website and a Facebook app, the campaign's goal is to get grab the public's attention and raise awareness about the state’s dental condition. Steve Coen, president and CEO of the foundation, said the campaign is in response to concerns raised about dental care during its state listening tours.
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  • Grant Program to Provide Preventive Oral Health Services in School-Based Health Centers
    March 1, 2012
    The National Assembly for School-Based Health Care (NASBHC), with support from Kaiser Permanente, has released a call for proposals to school-based health centers for its training and technical assistance initiative to expand the capacity of school-based health centers to deliver preventive oral health services. Successful applicants will receive ongoing technical support during the fourteen-month initiative to incorporate oral health promotion, assessment and preventive practices within well-child visits. The application deadline is March 30, 2012 with awards being announced in late April 2012.
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  • Sen. Sanders Releases Report on Dental Crisis
    March 1, 2012
    Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Labor and Pension's Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, released a report highlighting the dental crisis in America and the need for better access to dental care.
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  • Report Finds More Americans Relying on ER for Dental Care
    February 28, 2012

    According to a new report released by the Pew Center on the States, more and more Americans are seeking dental treatment and care in hospital emergency rooms (ER). The report, A Costly Dental Destination: Hospital Care Means States Pay Dearly, highlights hospital data on the frequency and cost of dental-related ER visits from 24 states and offers several policy solutions. In all, Pew found 830,590 ER visits in 2009 that were primarily the result of preventable dental conditions: a 16 percent increase from 2006. The report conc;udes that the root cause for the increase, especially for Medicaid populations, is a lack of access to regular preventive dental care.

    “The fact that so many Americans go to hospitals for dental care shows the delivery system is failing,” said Shelly Gehshan, director of the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign. “The care provided in an ER is much more expensive, and it generally doesn’t solve dental problems. Most hospital ERs are not staffed with dentists, and the medical personnel who work there are not trained to treat the underlying problems of patients with untreated dental issues. The bad news is that states are paying a hefty price at a time when they can least afford it. The good news is they can make modest investments now that will improve access to care and save them money down the road.”

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  • Dental Safety Net Webinar Series
    February 16, 2012
    The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and HealthPath Foundation of Ohio are co-sponsoring a webinar series on the dental safety net. Offered in partnership with the DentaQuest Institute, the six session interactive series covers a number of topics related to the dental safety net and is relevant to any and all safety net dental providers. Topics already covered include "Management of the Self Pay Patient" and "Strategic Scheduling." The next session is entitled "Developing Efficient and Effective Billing Procedures" and is being hosted on March 14, 2012.
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  • CDC Finds Fewer Smokers Seeking Dental Treatment
    February 8, 2012
    According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smokers not only are experiencing more oral health issues but also are going to the dentist less often than non-smokers. According to data from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey, more than a third of smokers reported having three or more dental problems: more than twice as much as non-smokers. Furthermore, current smokers were twice as likely as former smokers and four times as likely as never smokers to have poor oral health status. The survey also found that 20 percent of smokers reported not having been to a dentist in at least five years compared to only 10 percent of non-smokers and former smokers. Smokers seem to be aware their dental health is worse "but they're not doing anything about it," said Robin Cohen, a CDC statistician who coauthored the report.
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  • New Report Released on Improving Oral Health Quality
    February 7, 2012
    The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and DentaQuest Foundation commissioned the Pacific Center for Special Care to author the report Oral Health Quality Improvement in the Era of Accountability. The report is the culmination of a study into the ways in which oral health can improve the quality and delivery of care. It highlights current efforts to improve quality, the factors driving quality improvement, and system barriers that have impeded these efforts. Examining all of these factors, the report posits five critical elements for advancing quality improvement in oral health.
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  • Massachusetts Head Start Association Releases "Happy, Healthy, Teeth"
    January 24, 2012
    The Massachusetts Head Start Association, through a grant from the DentaQuest Foundation, has released Happy, Health Teeth! A Guide to Children's Dental Health, a new picture book intended to help parents and children practice and understand good oral health. Endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the book uses colorful photos and rhyming text to depict a child learning to brush, visiting the dentist, and making healthy food choices.
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  • Study Suggests New Criteria for Identifying “At-Risk” Children
    January 24, 2012
    A new study published in the Journal of Dental Research, which evaluated the school-based fluoride mouth rinse (FMR) programs in North Carolina, has developed a new means of identifying at-risk student populations. The authors foundation that, rather than using socioeconomic profiles of schools as is traditionally done, proximal risk indicators, such as untreated carries levels, may be a better criterion for determining program site implementation. Specifically, the study concludes, “Results… support the use of untreated decay during kindergarten enrollment risk stratification as a superior marker to some other methods in common use in public health.” The study's results, using this criterion, found that high-risk students who participated in FMR programs for five to six years had a 55 percent reduction in total carious surfaces, while low-risk students saw a 10 percent reduction.
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  • Promoting Access to Oral Health Care through Public-Private Partnerships: Roles for State Oral Health Programs and Oral Health Coalitions
    January 9, 2012
    The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors recently released a report highlighting four public-private partnerships and their oral health community programs. The programs are examples of successful partnerships of diverse sectors around sustainable models that address access to care and health literacy, inform policymakers and stakeholders, and raise awareness of the importance of oral health in the total health picture.
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  • Expanding California's Dental Team to Care for Underserved Children: New Times, New Solutions
    December 8, 2011
    A new brief from The Children’s Partnership provides an overview of the challenges faced by California's children and their families in obtaining necessary dental care, and outlines a workforce innovation designed to bridge the supply gap between existing providers and California's most vulnerable children. This brief also provides a proposal for action to help California's state and community leaders ensure that children get the dental care they need and to make real the promise of health care reform.
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  • Medical and Dental Professionals Commit to Ongoing Collaboration to Prevent Chronic Oral Diseases
    December 8, 2011
    The DentaQuest Foundation has been involved in the formation of a U.S. National Oral Health Alliance (Alliance), working with others to develop it as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and watching it gain traction and visibility as a new hub for the oral health community. "The Alliance has a great vision and an exciting colloquia-based model for engaging everyone who cares about oral health," says Alliance Program Director Nathan Ho. "This is a place to find common ground, share ideas, and learn from one another so we can collectively develop lasting solutions for vulnerable children and adults."
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  • Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations
    August 11, 2011
    Millions of Americans are not receiving needed dental care services because of "persistent and systemic" barriers that limit their access to oral health care, according to a new report by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. To remove these barriers, which disproportionately affect children, seniors, minorities, and other vulnerable populations, the report recommends changing funding and reimbursement for dental care; expanding the oral health workforce by training doctors, nurses, and other nondental professionals to recognize risk for oral diseases; and revamping regulatory, educational, and administrative practices.
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