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Resources to Support Patient Health

Understanding the communication needs of all patients is critical to providing quality oral health care. Here, we’ve compiled helpful cultural and linguistic resources to ensure the best possible communication. We’ve also included information surrounding care for a variety of patients including infants, expectant mothers and those who are medically compromised. Together, we are improving oral health care for all Californians.


By law, dental professionals in California are designated and mandated to report suspicions of patient abuse and neglect. Learn more about the cycle of violence and how to identify abuse in the April 2004 and May 2004 issues of the Journal of the California Dental Association.


No dental exam is complete without an oral cancer screening. Review the essentials of Detecting Oral Cancer, A Guide for Health-Care Professionals (National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse).

The National Cancer Institute provides resources on oral cancers.

Children's Oral Health

The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center provides several publications that address oral health care for new moms and infants. In particular, Bright Futures in Practice: Oral Health—Pocket Guide, second edition was developed to assist health professionals promote oral health care for pregnant and postpartum women, infants, children, and adolescents. 

The CDA’s Dental Health Education Resource Guide is a fun and informative way for teachers to introduce children from preschool through fifth grades to the importance of good oral health. Please let educators know they can find this guide on the CDA website.

CDA joined with 35 other dental organizations to create a simple message about the value of good oral health for children. The primary message encourages children to brush their teeth “2min2x” for two minutes, twice a day. Read more about the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives campaign or view these short, entertaining video clips.

The California Society of Pediatric Dentistry (CSPD) advocates for the optimal oral health and general welfare of infants, children, adolescents and those with special needs.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry publishes Oral Health Policies and Clinical Guidelines on a wide range of subjects, including infant and adolescent oral-health care, behavior guidelines for pediatric patients, anesthesia issues related to pediatric care and more.

Caries Prevention and Management

Read about the move from a surgical model of caries management to a medical model in the February 2003 and March 2003 editions of the Journal of the California Dental Association.

Access caries risk assessment tools in Caries Management By Risk Assessment (CAMBRA), including a risk assessment form for children 0-5 and CAMBRA treatment guidelines.

The ADA has developed numerous resources on dental caries. Caries risk assessment tools for children and adults can be found under the “Additional Resources” section.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener with decay-preventive qualities. View CDA’s Xylitol fact sheet.

Community Clinics

View CDA’s listing of dental clinics in California.

A comprehensive safety net dental clinic manual, covering everything from planning, to staffing, to clinic operations and quality improvement is available from the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center.

Many clinics are in need of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering your dental professional services, please call the clinic directly for more information. For information about volunteering at an upcoming CDA Cares event, please visit the CDA Foundation website.

Cultural Competency and Language Assistance

The US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers cultural competency resources on cultural competency. The Think Cultural Health program with the US Department of Health and Human Services has a free 6-credit continuing education course for oral health providers. Their e-learning program will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and awareness to best deliver oral health services to all patients, regardless of cultural or linguistic background.

The National Center for Cultural Competence offers a variety of tools to increase the capacity of health and mental health programs to design, implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems.

The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS) provides guidance and implementation strategies for providing culturally and linguistically appropriate health care. Continuing education for oral health professionals is also available.

The University of Texas Health Science Center has created a Bilingual Guide Spanish-English for the Dental Clinic. Call 210.567.3420 to order.

Data Resources

The Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Data Resource Center (DRC), co-sponsored by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and the Division of Oral Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), serves as a resource for dental, oral and craniofacial data for the oral health research community, clinical practitioners, public health planners and policymakers, advocates and the public.

Dental Sealants

In 2008, ADA released Evidence-based clinical recommendations for the use of pit-and-fissure sealants.

Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (MCAH) produced Dental Sealants: A Resource Guide, 3rd Edition, which provides information about the use and application of dental sealants. The guide includes an annotated list of journal articles, materials and organizations.

Emergency Preparedness, Pandemic Influenza, and Bioterrorism

The National Disaster Life Support Foundation has courses that specifically address the health care profession and its response in a disaster with courses that provide training and insight for an integrated response.

Read Dentistry’s Role in Responding to Bioterrorism and Other Catastrophic Events — Review of the March 2003 meeting sponsored by the ADA and the U.S. Public Health Service.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Emergency Preparedness and Response

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provides a handbook on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic.

Be Prepared California, a California Department of Health Services website, provides guidelines and tips for disaster preparedness.


ADA provides chair-side guides to topical fluoride agents for caries management and prevention and dietary fluoride supplements.

To determine if a water system is fluoridated, visit the California State Water Resources Control Board and click on “Is my water supply fluoridated?” If you are unsure if a patient lives in a location that receives fluoridated water, the best way to determine this is to call the phone number listed on the property’s water bill.

Excellent resources on community water fluoridation are found at The Campaign for Dental Health at

In 2014, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics published Fluoride and Dental Caries Prevention in Children, an easy to understand, comprehensive resource on the benefits and proper use of fluoride for caries prevention in children. View all issues of Pediatrics in Review online on the AAP website.

The April 2015 edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association features an innovative study utilizing system dynamics modeling to measure the disease reduction and costs savings of community water fluoridation in the New York State Medicaid program.

For decades, the U.S. Surgeon General has supported community water fluoridation. Access the statements by these statements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Government Programs

The Medi-Cal Dental Services Branch administers dental coverage for Medicaid recipients.

Click here for information about the Department of Health Care Services Dental Transformation Initiative (Medi-Cal 2020 waiver).

Click here for information on Medicare, Medicaid and other government-benefit programs from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


Creating a welcoming and safe place for LGBTQ+ patients begins with education and training. Here are some reputable resources to help you learn more about LGBTQIA+ oral health and better serve your LGBTQIA+ patients.  

Medically Compromised and Special Needs

The ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention (CAAP) has published a resource to help dentists receive payment for care provided in nursing homes. The publication, developed by CAAP’s National Elder Care Advisory Committee (NECAC), serves as a how-to guide for three distinct groups: dental professionals, state and county Medicaid caseworkers, and nursing home residents and their representatives.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis: Review ADA guidelines for antibiotic premedication for prevention of bacterial endocarditis and for patients with total joint replacements.

Cancer: Resources for the management of patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer may be found at the National Cancer Institute. Also available are guidelines for the care of patients undergoing radiation treatment.

Xerostomia (dry mouth) may result from medication use, autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren’s Syndrome, radiation, chemotherapy or nerve damage. While this syndrome may sometimes go unnoticed, it can significantly affect oral health. For information about the diagnosis, causes, and management of xerostomia, go to The ADA, or the Oral Cancer Foundation.

The Special Care Dentistry Association website promotes the oral health of special-needs patients, offering resources for dentists caring for geriatric patients, those with developmental disabilities, and others needing special care. A new SCDA offering is a 16-CE credit self-paced online learning program, hosted by the University of the Pacific Arthur A. SCDA Course link: SCDA Online Course

The Oral Health Services for Children and Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs: Resource Guide is produced by the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health branch of the California Department of Public Health. The guide provides a list of journal articles, materials, federal agencies and national organizations that may serve as resources for optimal care. Additionally, the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center has other oral health resources, including additional resources to care for special needs patients.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research provides information on providing oral care to people with developmental disabilities through their Practical Oral Care series.

This guide, developed for dental professionals by Autism Speaks, includes ways to help reduce children’s anxiety level and tips to make a dental visit more comfortable.


The CDA Foundation, in collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District IX, held a first-of-its-kind consensus conference on perinatal oral health in 2008. The resulting publication, Oral Health During Pregnancy and Early Childhood: Evidence-Based Guidelines for Health Professionals substantiates the relationship between overall health and oral health and provides clear direction to dental, medical, early childhood and public health professionals for the oral health care of pregnant women, infants and young children.

The National Maternal & Child Oral Health Resource Center provides several publications that address oral health care for new moms and infants, including a summary of practical guidelines for oral health care during pregnancy. Additionally, a section housing national activities, with descriptions of resources such as briefs, guides, handouts, toolkits, and trainings for health professionals and consumers, as well as tips for good oral health during pregnancy, available in multiple languages, are included.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed an easy-to-use oral health toolkit for health care providers, including patient education materials, as well as clinical resources to help medical professionals integrate oral health into their practices.


As part of California’s Oral Health Plan, UCSF experts Dr. Benjamin Chaffee and Elizabeth Couch developed guidance for dental professionals to counsel patients on tobacco use in the current landscape of vapes, waterpipes, and snus. Learn about new products, the “5 A’s” approach to tobacco cessation counseling, and more.

Help your patients become tobacco free! Find online tobacco-cessation information on U.S. Health and Human Services’ Be Tobacco Free or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides resources tailored for dental professionals to help patients to quit smoking. And you can always refer your patients directly to 800.QUITNOW (800.784.8669) or 800.NOBUTTS (800.662.8887) for phone support and to set up a personalized plan to quit.

Kick It California, formerly known as California Smokers’ Helpline, offers free fact sheets available for downloading and sharing with your patients on vapes, e-liquid, and vape aerosol. The last two fact sheets are particularly useful in talking with smokers who are pregnant or have young children at home. All materials are only available in English at this time.