Emerging Topics for Dentists as Primary Care Providers

Modifications of the traditional dental workforce have been proposed. The focus of this article is on expanding the role of the dentist as a primary health care provider, and includes topics that are emerging in the realm of general dentistry for further integration into primary health care and women’s health. The evidence base for the clinical application of these topics in dentistry is under development. In the near future, dentistry will have core competencies involving the topics discussed in this article as well as other new interdisciplinary health care aspects to enhance the overall health and well-being of patients.

Key points

  • Sex and gender health aspects are components of the emerging role of the oral health care provider as a primary health care provider. However, many of these have not yet been well researched in the oral health arena.

  • Human papilloma virus vaccine, now a recommended vaccine for 11- to 12-year-old boys and girls, is a topic that patients and parents of adolescents are likely to expect oral health care providers to offer advice about because of oral cancer implications.

  • Patients of sexual minority orientations may have disproportionate risks for oral diseases. Included in these concerns are tobacco and alcohol usage.

  • Nursing and medicine are pursuing inclusion of sexual minorities in their respective curricula. Dentistry should consider these models in dental education.

Introduction

The most recent strategic plan of the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) has the vastness of women’s health research whittled down to 6 goals ( Box 1 ). This ORWH strategic plan approach is significantly different than from its 2 predecessors. The 2020 plan does not place disease-specific emphasis, instead “it encompasses disease-specific research in a broader vision of women’s health that can benefit both women and men by increasing our understanding of the role of sex/gender factors in differential disease risk, vulnerability, progression, and outcome, as well as the effects of being female on health.” Hence, within the strategic plan, there is no specific section on oral health or dentistry. The report is stratified by the cross-cutting interdisciplinary themes that contribute to the establishment of the 6 goals. This article discusses this collaborative momentum in the context of the inclusion of dentistry in an evolving definition of primary health care with emerging health topics.

Box 1

  • 1.

    Increase sex differences research in basic science studies

  • 2.

    Incorporate findings of sex/gender differences in the design and application of new technologies, medical devices, and therapeutic drugs

  • 3.

    Actualize personalized prevention, diagnostics, and therapeutics for girls and women

  • 4.

    Create strategic alliances and partnerships to maximize the domestic and global impact of women’ s health and wellness research

  • 5.

    Develop and implement new communication and social networking technologies to increase understanding and appreciation of women’s health and wellness research

  • 6.

    Employ innovative strategies to build a well-trained, diverse, and vigorous women’s health research workforce

Goals from Moving into the Future with new Dimensions and Strategies: A Vision for 2020 for Women’s Health Research
Data from ORWH, NIH, USDHHS. Moving into the future with new dimensions and strategies: a vision for 2020 for Women’s Health Research: strategic plan. vol. 1. 2010. Available at: orwh.od.nih.gob/research/strategocplan/ORWH_StrategicPlan2020_Vol1.pdf . Accessed January 30, 2013.

A patient’s visit to the dentist is a valuable moment to improve oral and overall health, reinforce positive health messaging, and educate on health promotion and disease prevention. In the United States, most of the population, even among the adult population, report being seen by either their physician or dentist in the past year. A readily acceptable role in dentistry exists to reinforce the negative effects of sugar-sweetened beverages, as an example of bridging primary health care. Guidance on such beverages could abate dental caries, as well as help to address the caloric-related factors of obesity.

There are other oral and general health topics for which interdisciplinary links are becoming more transparent and more familiar to the dental workforce. The reader is referred to previous articles in this issue.

However, there are emerging topics that are less familiar in dentistry. Several of these topics are presented in this article to help raise awareness, if needed, of areas to be encountered in dental life-long-learning as the science bases are evolving. The topics chosen for this article complement the accompanying articles in this special issue. Our chosen topics are not comprehensive lists of emerging topics in women’s oral health related to the dentist’s role as a primary health care provider. We have selected topics ones that general dentists need to be familiar with as partners in interdisciplinary health care, including the dentist as a discussant with adolescent patients and their parents about the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine; sexual health distinctions between minority groups and heterosexuals; and whether human milk microbiome may provide insight into preventing early childhood caries.

Introduction

The most recent strategic plan of the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) has the vastness of women’s health research whittled down to 6 goals ( Box 1 ). This ORWH strategic plan approach is significantly different than from its 2 predecessors. The 2020 plan does not place disease-specific emphasis, instead “it encompasses disease-specific research in a broader vision of women’s health that can benefit both women and men by increasing our understanding of the role of sex/gender factors in differential disease risk, vulnerability, progression, and outcome, as well as the effects of being female on health.” Hence, within the strategic plan, there is no specific section on oral health or dentistry. The report is stratified by the cross-cutting interdisciplinary themes that contribute to the establishment of the 6 goals. This article discusses this collaborative momentum in the context of the inclusion of dentistry in an evolving definition of primary health care with emerging health topics.

Box 1

  • 1.

    Increase sex differences research in basic science studies

  • 2.

    Incorporate findings of sex/gender differences in the design and application of new technologies, medical devices, and therapeutic drugs

  • 3.

    Actualize personalized prevention, diagnostics, and therapeutics for girls and women

  • 4.

    Create strategic alliances and partnerships to maximize the domestic and global impact of women’ s health and wellness research

  • 5.

    Develop and implement new communication and social networking technologies to increase understanding and appreciation of women’s health and wellness research

  • 6.

    Employ innovative strategies to build a well-trained, diverse, and vigorous women’s health research workforce

Goals from Moving into the Future with new Dimensions and Strategies: A Vision for 2020 for Women’s Health Research
Data from ORWH, NIH, USDHHS. Moving into the future with new dimensions and strategies: a vision for 2020 for Women’s Health Research: strategic plan. vol. 1. 2010. Available at: orwh.od.nih.gob/research/strategocplan/ORWH_StrategicPlan2020_Vol1.pdf . Accessed January 30, 2013.

A patient’s visit to the dentist is a valuable moment to improve oral and overall health, reinforce positive health messaging, and educate on health promotion and disease prevention. In the United States, most of the population, even among the adult population, report being seen by either their physician or dentist in the past year. A readily acceptable role in dentistry exists to reinforce the negative effects of sugar-sweetened beverages, as an example of bridging primary health care. Guidance on such beverages could abate dental caries, as well as help to address the caloric-related factors of obesity.

There are other oral and general health topics for which interdisciplinary links are becoming more transparent and more familiar to the dental workforce. The reader is referred to previous articles in this issue.

However, there are emerging topics that are less familiar in dentistry. Several of these topics are presented in this article to help raise awareness, if needed, of areas to be encountered in dental life-long-learning as the science bases are evolving. The topics chosen for this article complement the accompanying articles in this special issue. Our chosen topics are not comprehensive lists of emerging topics in women’s oral health related to the dentist’s role as a primary health care provider. We have selected topics ones that general dentists need to be familiar with as partners in interdisciplinary health care, including the dentist as a discussant with adolescent patients and their parents about the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine; sexual health distinctions between minority groups and heterosexuals; and whether human milk microbiome may provide insight into preventing early childhood caries.

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Oct 29, 2016 | Posted by in General Dentistry | Comments Off on Emerging Topics for Dentists as Primary Care Providers
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