Global oral health: Solutions, new directions for dentistry discussed in CDA Journal collection

April 17, 2024
771
Global Oral Health Journal California Dental Association
QUICK SUMMARY:  “The burden of oral diseases continues to be one of the most prevalent of all health conditions worldwide and is expected to rise without an adequately trained and equitably distributed workforce,” writes guest editor Brittany Seymour, DDS, MPH, in the collection’s introduction. Articles discuss bridging local practices with global objectives, shifting to a new dental education model and how dentists can apply community-based participatory research principles to better align with the World Health Organization's strategic objectives. 

Global health in dental education, caries burden in Indonesian school children, community-based research in Costa Rica to identify risk factors for oral health, and other studies on global oral health are reviewed in the latest collection of the Journal of the California Dental Association.

“The burden of oral diseases continues to be one of the most prevalent of all health conditions worldwide and is expected to rise without an adequately trained and equitably distributed workforce,” writes guest editor Brittany Seymour, DDS, MPH, in the collection’s introduction.

“This special issue on global oral health illuminates actionable solutions and provides insights into new and necessary directions for dentistry.”

Dentists can also earn C.E. by reading an article and successfully completing an online quiz.

Proposing the internationalization of dental education

“Dental education stands to benefit from formal global oral health curricula and internationalization of dental education as a whole,” write the authors of “Global Health in Dental Education: Establishing a Framework for Global Health Engagement Among Future Dental Practitioners.”

Reflecting on new modes of international collaboration, including through the use of video conferencing platforms, they suggest shifting from the current model of global health education dominated by short-term experiences in global health, known as STEGH, to a combination of formal didactics, internationalized education and collaborative, interprofessional clinical experiences.

Such a shift “would strengthen the future of global oral health and the field of dentistry altogether,” the authors write.

Read the article and take a short quiz to earn 0.5 units C.E. credit.

Addressing caries burden in Bali through ‘dental immunisation’

The Indonesian Ministry of Health’s National Oral Health Survey revealed that 90% of children in Indonesia have caries by age 5 with an average DMFT of 8.1.

Using a framework they call “dental immunisation,” dentists collaborated in 2022 with local communities in Bali to address the burden of caries on school children. That research is presented in “Dental Immunisation: Evaluation of a Community-Driven Strategy for Addressing Caries Burden in Indonesian School Children.”

The article’s authors evaluated the program for its reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation and maintenance concluding that by bridging local practices with global objectives, the program “demonstrates a potential paradigm shift in community-based dental care and prevention strategies.”

Applying community-based research principles to global oral health

Community-based participatory research combines research and engagement with local partners to implement interventions and evaluate outcomes.

In “Applying Community-Based Participatory Research Principles to Global Oral Health: A Case Study from Costa Rica,” the authors present the methods and findings of a CBPR oral health project conducted with an Indigenous community in Costa Rica to identify common protective and risk factors for oral health.

“The complexity of community-level factors that influence oral health in a community such as La Casona demonstrates the value of CBPR,” the authors concluded. They suggest that dentists can apply CBPR principles in initiatives to better align with the World Health Organization’s strategic objective to achieve oral health for all individuals and communities by 2030.

Making a difference in global oral health

Other articles in this collection include the first-person account “Global Oral Health — Seeing My Reflection in a Changing Tide” and “Do Good, Better: Making a Difference in Global Oral Health,” a guide dentists can use to evaluate their current and future short-term volunteer work.

Every CDA Journal collection also includes Impressions — curated scientific news of interest to dentists, dental professionals and the greater oral health care community.

Read the CDA Journal collection: Global Oral Health.

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