Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Dental Download: February 28, 2014

This week, the FDA proposes new nutrition labels, the Florida Public Health Institute reports that dental-related ER visits are on the rise and a new standard for sharing dental data has been created to more effectively identify missing persons. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

The number of Floridians treated in hospital emergency rooms for dental problems rose to more than 139,000 in 2012, according to a study by the Florida Public Health Institute. Many of these issues could have been treated in a dental office or clinic, or even prevented with regular dental exams. The study, funded by DentaQuest Foundation, found that the total charges for dental-related ER visits in Florida exceeded $141 million.

For the first time in twenty years, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing several big changes to the nutrition labels that appear on 700,000 products. On the new labels, serving sizes will better reflect how much food Americans are actually consuming, the calorie count will be more prominent and the amount of Vitamin D and potassium in a product will be included. Most important to your dental health, the new label will distinguish between the amount of natural sugar and added sugars in the product. Added sugars are the artificial sugars and syrups added to processed foods that can be more detrimental to teeth than natural sugars. Keep in mind that natural sugars, like those in milk and fruit, can linger in the mouth and cause cavities. Be sure to clean your teeth after consuming them.

We’ve all heard that dental records are used to help identify missing persons after a disaster. Now, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has officially added “dental data” to its existing list of what can be used to identify deceased individuals. Now that there is a standard protocol, organizations can more easily obtain dental data from dental offices for forensic purposes, the same way they would contact police stations and hospitals for fingerprints and DNA.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quality Improvement in an Era of Accountability

By Palmer Corson, Senior Manager Programs and Operations, DentaQuest Institute

For some time now, Medical care has had to come to terms with pay for performance, accountable care organizations, and value-based care.  Dentistry is just entering this new "Era of Accountability” with managed care, pay for performance, diagnosis codes, transparency in cost, and a focus on outcomes.
Dr. Paul Glassman* framed the issues that the oral health community needs to consider in a 2012 report, Developing a Vision for Oral Health Quality Improvement in an Era of Accountability, funded by the DentaQuest Institute and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Driving this change is the dramatic escalation in total healthcare spending with poor health outcomes in the U.S. compared to other countries, wide variability in cost and care, capacity of the care delivery workforce, and large disparities in health outcomes experienced by various populations.
To encourage dialogue and action on the challenges and opportunities identified in the report, the DentaQuest Institute and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation hosted leaders across the dental profession, dental education, medicine, government, financing, philanthropy, quality improvement, and consumer advocacy to consider what a quality improvement framework that ensured  all people have access to quality oral health care would look like. What resulted was a National Oral Health Quality Improvement Committee which has been meeting quarterly to develop  a roadmap for an oral health care system that uses the tools of quality and accountability.
Since the first meeting in 2012, the Committee has developed both a vision for the future of oral health and strategies for achieving that vision.
The steering committee of Dr. Paul Glassman, Dr. Marty Liebermann, Dr. Burt Edelstein and Dr. Man Wai Ng, met in Boston on February 14, 2014, to incorporate feedback on the plan and finalize strategies for approval by the full committee.
With an endorsed set of strategies and vision, the group will turn to the next big question of implementation and engaging stakeholders.  The committee is thinking about the following questions as they move into the action period:
  • How does the oral health care system make this vision come to life?
  • What are the next steps for collective action across the systems that impact oral health? 
  • What steps can participants on this committee take to bring these ideas to their colleagues and constituents?
Your thoughts? Email Palmer Corson, DentaQuest Institute, 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Dental Download: February 21, 2014

This week, California announces a new law that could help lower rates of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, Maryland reports that more kids are getting dental care and even the seals at the New England Aquarium are celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month! Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the seals at the New England Aquarium have been brushing their pearly whites to remind visitors how important good oral health really is- even for seals.

A new law could make California the first state to require warnings on the front of all beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories per 12 ounces. The label would read: "STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay." It’s important to educate people about the effects excess sugar can have on oral health, as well as their overall health.

The Defense Department recently started the procurement process for a dental electronic health record (EHR) capable of managing 17,000 patient appointments per day. According to, the Defense Department Health Management Systems Modernization program managed by the Defense Health Agency aims to start the process with a test site at Ft. Lewis, WA, in late 2016 and complete installation in 57 hospitals, 364 medical clinics, 225 veteran’s clinics, and 282 dental clinics by 2019.

According to a new state report by the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, the number of children in Maryland with untreated tooth decay dropped 41 percent from 2001 to 2011. According to an announcement in the Washington Post from the Maryland Department of Health, approximately 14 percent of children had untreated dental caries, a drop from 23 percent in 2000 and 2001. We are thrilled to hear that the number of children with untreated dental issues is decreasing. It’s important that parents remain vigilant that their children brush, floss and receive regular dental checkups.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recently launched the “Monster-Free Mouths Movement” to help parents educate children about the importance of practicing good oral health habits and the not-so-fun “monsters” that will attack teeth if they don’t, like “Tartar the Terrible,” who breaks down tooth enamel and causes cavities. The website contains fun activities for parents and their children, like certificates of achievement for getting a dental checkup. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Dental Download: February 14, 2014

This week, DentaQuest shares oral health tips with a Tennessee elementary school, CNN reports that dental-related ER visits are on the rise and we discuss what you should do if you chip or bruise a tooth. Have thoughts on today’s news? Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

DentaQuest participated in the Blythe-Bower Elementary community health and safety expo to teach children at the school about good oral health habits. Ashley Hathaway from DentaQuest employed “Mojo the monkey,” who shoots toothpaste from his mouth to entertain and educate the kids. She also passed out goodie bags with toothbrushes and two-minute sand timers to encourage children to brush for two minutes, twice a day.

Every day, thousands of people without access to a dentist go to their local emergency room to receive care. Yet most of these facilities do not provide the dental care these patients need. In 2010, more than 2.1 million people, the vast majority of them adults, went to ERs with dental pain, which is double the number just a decade prior, according to the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. This CNN story demonstrate show important it is for people receive proper preventative care in in an effort to reduce reliance on emergency care, which can be extremely costly. All Americans deserve dental care, which is why DentaQuest’s mission is to improve the oral health of all.

While watching the Olympics, one can’t help but notice how incredibly dangerous some of the winter events are, especially for teeth! From hockey to skeleton, Olympians put their hearts, souls and teeth on the line for their country. This Wall Street Journal article on what to do if you chip or bruise a tooth is a great resource for anyone- Olympians or mere citizens- who find themselves in that situation.

The American Dental Association has released new guidelines on caring for babies’ teeth; parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt instead of waiting until children are older. The reason? Since cavities among American children are on the rise, it’s important for parents to get a jump start on preventive oral care. Remember, only the tiniest dab of fluoride toothpaste is enough for your baby.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Learn about the link between oral health and heart health here

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Healthy Mouth = Healthy Heart!
Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine recently published a study that found periodontal disease is associated with thickening of the arterial wall. This results in a greater risk of Atherosclerosis, the narrowing of arteries through the build-up of plaque, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and death.

According to the American Heart Association, problems in the mouth can be a warning sign for heart disease. People with periodontaldisease often have risk factors that not only affect their mouths but also their heart and blood vessels.

Follow the Million Hearts initiative on Twitter, a national initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Take these free risk assessment quizzes to find your personal risk of heart attack, high blood pressure and diabetes and learn what you can do to keep your heart healthy.

The connection between oral health and overall health tells us something important: the mouth is a vital health indicator for the health of the rest of the body. We should remain mindful of how we’re not only treating our bodies, but our teeth and gums, too. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Dental Download: February 7, 2014

This week, Dr. Mark Doherty discussed the DentaQuest Institute’s Safety net Solutions program, we’re reminded that good oral health practices begin in infancy and we sum up the 2014 Yankee Dental Congress. Have thoughts on today’s news? Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

DentaQuest’s Safety Net Solutions (SNS) Executive Director Dr. Mark Doherty was interviewed by DrBicuspid on DentaQuest Institute’s SNS program. Dr. Doherty sums up the program well saying, "The health centers that we work with are these one-stop shopping places, where patients and parents can have social interaction, healthcare, dental care, recreation, get food, get their pharmacy needs taken care of, and more." You can read more about the SNS program here.

This article  reiterates the fact that dental hygiene is a vital part of overall health, and cites the Surgeon General’s Report,Oral Health in America,which found that oral diseases and disorders affect health and wellbeing throughout one’s life. The article goes on to explain that studies have linked periodontal (gum) disease to a heightened risk of heart attack and stroke, and poor dental health to Alzheimer’s disease. Because cavities can happen as early as nine months of age, it’s important for parents make sure their children are brushing, flossing and visiting a dentist regularly, starting in infancy.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s recently released State of Little Teeth report was another hot topic this week. DrBicuspid’s article calls out the fact that early childhood caries (ECC) is a growing epidemic in America, and that ECC is the most common childhood disease. The article explains that poor children between ages 2 and 9 are twice as likely to have dental caries than those in higher economic groups, possibly caused by poor diet and lack of education. Check out DentaQuest Institute’s Early Childhood Caries collaborative, which aims to lower the rates of ECC in today’s children through education and preventive care.

The 39th annual Yankee Dental Congress in Boston came to a close this week, and what a success it was! Over 450 exhibitors offered products and services at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and more than 300 continuing education courses were offered, some of which were taught by members of the DentaQuest team. You can read more about Dr. Brian Novy, Dr. Mark Doherty and Dori Bingham’s sessions here.

The FDA launched a new anti-smoking campaign this week targeting teenagers by focusing on how smoking affects teenagers' appearance by ruining their skin and teeth. One graphic TV ad shows a teenager buying a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store and literally pulling out a tooth with a set of pliers to pay for them, while a narrator says "What's a pack of smokes cost? Your teeth.” Watch all the commercials here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Another Great Year for the Yankee Dental Congress

Last week, nearly 28,000 dental professionals attended the 2014 Yankee Dental Congress at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. This year’s theme, “It All Starts Here,” stressed the important relationship between oral health and overall health, and several members of the DentaQuest team took part in this exciting event.

Dr. Brian Novy, director of practice improvement at DentaQuest Institute, led sessions on risk assessment surrounding dental caries management and evidence-based dentistry, a topic on which he is regarded as an international thought leader. Dr. Novy presented on his studies on the predictive quality of saliva in relation to microbial growth patterns and dental caries in a session titled “Saliva: A Fabulous Fluid with a Capital H.”

Dori Bingham and Dr. Mark Doherty of DentaQuest Institute’s Safety Net Solutions (SNS) team conducted a presentation on the SNS program which assists safety net dental programs through the practice improvement process. The SNS program collaborates with clinical and administrative staff at safety net dental centers to create and implement strategies to increase access, strengthen financial viability, and improve quality outcomes. 

Tony Edwards of Dr. Bicuspid caught up with Dr. Doherty at the event to further discuss DentaQuest Institute’s SNS program and its history and process; you can read the full article here.

Along with over 450 exhibitors sharing their knowledge on the exhibit hall floor, the Yankee Dental Congress offered many informative sessions and presentations by experts in the field and will undoubtedly result in new relationships and initiatives. We are already excited about next year’s event!

We tweeted throughout the conference, so check out the conversation on twitter using #YDC2014.