CDA Journal discusses integration of behavioral and oral health in dentistry

June 11, 2024
512
Dentistry & Mental Health Journal California Dental Association
QUICK SUMMARY:Articles in theCDA Journal collection Dentistry and Mental Healthdiscuss the bi-directional relationship between oral health and behavioral health, a framework for integrating behavioral health and oral health in predoctoral education and resources to support integration of behavioral health in dental settings. Dentists can read an article and successfully complete an online quiz to earn C.E. credit.

COVID-19 has accelerated trends in mental health issues that have been emerging over the last few decades. And dentistry, as one of the healing, health care professions, will not be isolated from these changes. 

Articles in the CDA Journal collection Dentistry and Mental Health discuss the bi-directional relationship between oral health and behavioral health, a framework for integrating behavioral health and oral health in predoctoral education and resources to support integration of behavioral health in dental settings. Another paper highlights health centers that have developed systems for using behavioral health screenings and referral management in dental settings. 

“We hope that readers approach this collection of articles with an open mind and allow ideas and thoughts of IBOH to take a foothold and grow, even if no immediate action is possible,” writes Irene V. Hilton, DDS, MPH, FACD, guest editor of the collection.  

This collection also includes an opportunity to earn C.E. credit. 

A bi-directional relationship between oral health and behavioral health 

With anxiety and depression diagnoses, as well as deaths by suicide and drug overdose reaching record highs in recent years, dentists are very likely to see a patient with a mental health or substance use challenge. 

Mental health challenges such as depression or a substance use disorder can negatively impact oral health, and the reverse is also true with poor oral health creating or worsening mental health, the authors write in “Why Integrate Dentistry and Behavioral Health: What Every Oral Health Provider Should Know About Mental Health and Substance Use.” 

“While the movement toward more integrated oral health and behavioral health is still nascent, emerging outcomes show that better coordination among these fields can positively impact dental patients and staff,” the authors write.  

Read about this bi-directional relationship between oral health and behavioral health and find strategies and resources for integrating oral health and behavioral health services in the dental practice. 

Plus: Dentists can read the article and take a short quiz to earn 0.5 units C.E. credit. 

Integrating behavioral health and oral health in predoctoral education 

Epidemiological trends in oral health and mental health and changes in health systems underscore the need to teach predoctoral dental students about the broader concept of behavioral health. 

“A Framework for the Integration of Behavioral Health and Oral Health in Predoctoral Education” introduces a framework for integrating behavioral health and oral health in the predoctoral curriculum that will prepare future dentists to provide comprehensive care that is responsive to patients’ oral health-relevant behavioral health needs. 

The framework comprises three domains that emphasize education, the organizational environment and community priorities and engagement. 

With an integrated curriculum, “dental school graduates will have the knowledge and skills necessary to work in integrated healthcare systems and on interprofessional terms,” the authors write. 

Resources support integration of behavioral health in dental settings 

Patients in dental settings are increasingly likely to present with mental health and substance use needs, impacting their ability to successfully access oral health services and improve their oral health. 

Dentists can use existing resources and follow practices to support their patients’ behavioral and, ultimately, oral health. In “Behavioral Health in Dental Settings: Resources to Support Integration,” find chairside communication strategies, guidance on trauma-informed care and other concepts and tools to make a financially sustainable shift toward integrating oral health and behavioral health in the practice. 

“Small, incremental changes are typically within reach in an individual clinician’s practice,” the authors write. “Larger ones may require organizational changes and a local champion to spearhead integration efforts.” 

Integrating behavioral and oral health in health centers 

One additional article in this collection, Integration of Behavioral and Oral Health in Health Centers,also addresses dentistry and mental health. Other Journal articles include Impressions — curated scientific news of interest to dental professionals and the oral health community — and the guest editorial Overcoming the Implicit Bias Shortcut.

Read the CDA Journal collection.

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