Policy Considerations

It is vital to use a multipronged approach – ensuring good oral health care for the individual as well as improving the systems of care that serve them – ensuring accessible, affordable, and equitable care for all.

Each state differs in its licensing and scope of practice for dental professionals. School-based oral health programs may use a combination of professionals to provide services, including dentists, dental hygienists, and emerging provider models such as expanded function dental assistants and dental therapists. The supervision requirements for dental hygienists vary by state and play a critical role in the capacity of school-based oral health programs. The variations in the degree of practice autonomy for dental hygienists and other provider types in your state’s dental practice act will impact the design of your school-based oral health delivery model.

https://www.adha.org/resources-docs/7511_Permitted_Services_Supervision_Levels_by_State.pdf  A summary of dental hygiene practice acts for permitted functions and supervision levels by state.

https://dentistry.temple.edu/sites/dentistry/files/uploads/PPCT/Oral_Health_Advocacy_Toolkit.pdf  This Oral Health Advocacy Toolkit provides strategies and resources for dental schools and dental hygiene programs to help create advocacy goals, choose allies, build coalitions, frame messages, and present data to build support for your program.

https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Oral-Health/Pages/Oral-Health.aspx   The American Academy of Pediatrics works to improve children’s oral health through communication and collaboration between the medical and dental homes and to make pediatricians and other health professionals an essential part of the oral health team.

https://www.astdd.org/dental-public-health-policy-committee/  ASTDD is the principal voice promoting the leadership capacity of state and territorial oral health programs and the impact that their collective oral disease prevention and health promotion activities have on the nation’s oral health. ASTDD works with a broad array of federal, state, and local public and private partners to educate decision-makers on dental public health issues and concerns of state and territorial oral health programs (S/TOHP).

https://nashp.org/policy/maternal-child-and-adolescent-health/child-oral-health/  The National Academy for State Health Policy explores how several states, including Minnesota and Arizona, are expanding their oral health workforce to increase access to care and promote health equity and patient safety.

https://familiesusa.org/our-work/  Families USA, a leading national, non-partisan voice for health care consumers, is dedicated to achieving high-quality, affordable health care and improved health for all. Our work is driven by and centered around four pillars: value, equity, coverage, and consumer experience. We view these focus areas — and the various issues unique to each area — as the cornerstones of America’s health care system.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2019.00359/full Advancing Oral Health Equity Through School-Based Oral Health Programs: An Ecological Model and Review.  The authors view school-based oral health programs as vehicles for advancing oral health equity since vulnerable children often lack access to any preventive or treatment services absent on-site care provision at schools. At the same time, they are incapable of achieving sustainable results without attention to multiple levels of influence. Policy solutions that improve the nutritional quality of children’s diets in schools and neighborhoods and engage alternative providers at all levels of influence may be both effective and equitable.

https://www.ada.org/en/science-research/health-policy-institute The Health Policy Institute (HPI) aims to be a thought leader and trusted source for critical policy knowledge related to the U.S. dental care system. The key issues that HPI focuses on include health policy reform, access to dental care, the dental workforce, dental care utilization and benefits, dental education, and oral health outcomes.