Greater than the sum: CDA Journal collection explores the power of dentists working together

Dentists collaborate to launch and evolve volunteer-led CDA Cares clinics, advocate for a soda tax to reduce disease

February 7, 2024
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Quick Summary: Two articles and a case study explore how dentists collaborated to design, launch and evolve the volunteer-led CDA Cares clinics, advocated for a soda tax to reduce disease through education and created a support program for participating Medi-Cal Dental providers. Read on for summaries.

The latest collection of the Journal of the California Dental Association spotlights how dentists can effect system change by taking even small steps together.

Drs. Jared I. Fine, Bahar Amanzadeh and Larry J. Platt write in the introduction that the collection’s articles “demonstrate the exceptional power of dental providers overcoming historical isolation by working collaboratively with other dentists, working within a larger group such as the local component dental society, working across professional disciplines and working with others with a common mission.”

The two articles and a case report discuss how dentists collaborated to design, launch and evolve the volunteer-led CDA Cares clinics, advocated for a soda tax to reduce disease through education and created a support program for participating Medi-Cal Dental providers. Read on for summaries.

Dentists’ role in designing, launching and evolving CDA Cares dental clinics

When dental benefits were eliminated in 2009 for 3 million eligible adults under the Medi-Cal Dental Program, CDA and dentists created CDA Cares – a large-scale, community-based clinic designed to meet the immediate needs of California’s most vulnerable residents.

Read “CDA Cares: The Power of Community Action” to learn about the clinics’ accomplishments over the years and how thousands of dedicated dentists and dental professionals have donated their time and skills to provide dental services, oral health education and assistance locating permanent dental homes.

A sugar-sweetened-beverage tax campaign: education, disease reduction

A local dental society and individual dentists played a key role in the passage of the historic sugar-sweetened beverage tax in Oakland in 2016. From its inception, the “soda tax” campaign was an attempt to alter the disease trajectory of diabetes, obesity and dental caries through community-wide education and advocacy.

The case report “A Sugar-Sweetened-Beverage Tax Campaign: The Key Role of the Dental Community” evaluates how this effort reintegrated the oral cavity with the rest of the body and underscores the opportunity for medical-dental integration and collaboration at the policy level.

Support and community for dental providers serving children on Medi-Cal Dental

The Alameda County Healthy Teeth Healthy Communities Program, a local dental pilot project, was implemented to meet the oral health needs of children enrolled in Medi-Cal by reducing barriers to care while offering educational and referral opportunities for participating dentists.

“Community of Practice for Dental Providers Serving Children on Medi-Cal Dental: Needs and Progress in Alameda County” describes the project’s methods and results and concludes that the highlighted model promotes the future collective action of dentists. The project transformed the traditional culture of individual dental practices “by bringing together providers to learn from each other and feel a shared mission,” the authors write.

Oral infections predict changes in metabolic profiles

Elsewhere in the Journal are summaries of four recent dental studies:

• Music-Evoking Emotional Responses May Reduce Pain
• Study Finds Viking Dentistry Surprisingly Sophisticated
• Oral Infections Predict Changes in Metabolic Profiles
• New Compound Outperforms Pain Drug Gabapentin

Read the CDA Journal collection Greater Than the Sum.

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