Oral Health Zone Summit 2012: DPR's Exclusive Coverage

dentalproductsreport.com-2012-06-01, Issue 6

Advanstar Dental Media's Director of Content, Thais Carter, flew to Charlotte, North Carolina to cover the inaugural Oral Health Zone Summit.

Advanstar Dental Media's Director of Content, Thais Carter, flew to Charlotte, North Carolina to cover the inaugural Oral Health Zone Summit. Created by the National Children's Oral Health Foundation - America's Toothfairy, the summit brings together key voices in the fight to bring educational resources and dental care to children caught in the cycle of dental disease.

Affiliates heard a variety of presentations. Here, we summarize a handful of the presentations. Look forward to more updates from Day 2.

If you have questions about any of the information shared at the summit, you can reach out to NCOHF directly.

You can find transcripts of each audio clip after the jump.


CLIP: An Introduction to the Oral Health Zone Summit

This is Thais Carter, Director of Content for Advanstar Dental Media. It has been my distinct privilege to be in Charlotte, North Carolina today, sitting in on the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation’s first Oral Health Zone Summit, hosted by Pelton & Crane and KaVo Americas in their beautiful Charlotte facility.

Bringing together affiliate members from around the country-with affiliate travel and hotel generously covered by 3M ESPE-this first day has covered a lot of ground in terms of helping the affiliates wrap their heads around the Oral Health Zone concept, and understand the program components that are available to help create a dynamic learning environment and provide care in whatever communities they serve.

For those who don’t know, the Oral Health Zone is intended to be an eco-system of NCOHF activities that allows a variety of community stakeholders the opportunity to engage and play a role in creating a comprehensive approach to breaking the cycle of severe tooth decay and the devastating effects it has on children.

In the following audio playlist, I’ll be giving brief summaries of today’s presentations in hopes that you might find an idea that helps inspire you to be part of making America’s Toothfairy a local superstar in your part of the country.

As someone who is passionate about access to care issues, I found myself with a lot of ideas and a lot of questions. I’ll share my personal reflections in another clip, but I think that is the best recommendation I can give this summit. It’s not just about policy and protocols. After a day spent in a classroom taking in a lot of information, it would be easy to feel a little number. On the contrary, today’s speakers made you feel something – and that isn’t always the case.

Enjoy the coverage and, if you have questions, leave them in the comments section and we’ll work with NCOHF to make sure you get connected to answers.


CLIP: Affiliate Welcome from Candy Ross, Director of Industry and Professional Relations, KaVo Group

Candy Ross is the Director of Industry and Professional Relationships for KaVo Equipment. Her unofficial title might as well be industry big sister. Much of her work is in bringing together smart, passionate people with the resources that an organization such as KaVo, part of the wider Danaher Corporation, can provide.

As affiliates arranged themselves in the educational center at the KaVo/Pelton & Crane facility, Ms. Ross provided the warm welcome on behalf of the host companies. Rather than focus on corporate responsibility as the driving force for hosting the event, she did what she is known for and brought a wonderful personal element to her opening remarks.

As a hygienist, she’d been involved in a lot of different clinics, serving low income and indigent children. At a clinic outside of Las Vegas, she watched as an 8-year-old girl neared her tolerance level for the amount of dental work she could sit through. When she was done, Candy took the girl outside, gave her a hug and a toothbrush. In talking with her, Candy realized that the little girl hadn’t been practicing poor brushing habits because she was uneducated or lazy, but because she shared a toothbrush with her brothers, who often hogged the bathroom. There wasn’t enough money to get a toothbrush for each of them.

“How far away are we from that world,” Candy asked. She continued to share that not only had she vowed to never forget that girl’s circumstances, but that in her role now, the goal was to support organizations like the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, and the affiliates as caregivers.

“We can fight and we can win against this epidemic of untreated dental disease in the U.S.,” she concluded.


CLIP: President and CEO of NCOHF, Fern Ingber: Foundation of the Foundation

Fern Ingber is the President and CEO of the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation. More importantly, she is the dynamic front for the organization – harnessing resources, people and enthusiasm at every turn.

She used her time at the podium to first recognize the NCOHF team who helped to make the summit happen, including: Christian Drake, Jennifer Drake, Jill Malmgren, Brenda Woodington and Bev Brandt.  This core group may be small, but as Fern pointed out, the lasting strength of the NCOHF is in its affiliates.

“We are the organizers,” she said, “but you make it happen.”

She went on to lay out the history of NCOHF, explaining that it is important to understand the foundation on which the Foundation is built. Over time the organization moved from just aggregating support to facilitating action, developing programs that make it easier for dental professionals to start and build out in their communities. Since its inception in 2006, NCOHF has not only rolled out a wide range of kid-centric programs, it has made it possible to deliver $10 million worth of educational materials, dental products and grants. And this is just the beginning…


CLIP: Dr. Rebecca Slayton on the Evolution of Oral Health

Dr. Rebecca Slayton is the Chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and the Chief Dental Officer for the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation. Her lecture title was “The Evolution of Oral Health,” a fairly broad topic, to be sure. She acknowledged that we have known about the etiology of caries for a long time and that there is this nagging feeling that if know about a disease, we should be able to cure it - which hasn’t happened. She did a beautiful job of laying out the complexity of caries. Most striking was the simple fact that the “eat right, brush your teeth” advice that is the maxim of most GPs may not be enough for every child due to the multi-factorial nature of caries.

Another interesting fact was that approximately 20% of children have 80% of the decay - so we’ve made great strides in some areas, but the underserved remain in a gridlock of bad habits and bad results.

No matter what population dental professionals are working with, certain pieces of advice apply:

  • Prevention, by definition, must start early. If possible, moms are a great start! Of course, if caries is already present, then it is about how you choose to deal with the issue.

  • Surgical management of caries isn’t addressing the problem, it is dealing with the cavity by taking a hole, making it bigger and filling it. Instead, dentists should be more focused on the medical management of caries – address the source, the progression, shift the balance to remineralization, and do what you can to reduce or eliminate the bacterial component.

There were too many great nuggets to include in one summary. I’ll end with Dr. Slayton’s concluding wish, “Hopefully, we can all make a difference for these kids.”

CLIP: Dr. Susan Maples: Hands-On Learning Lab

Dr. Susan Maples, a private practice dentist in Holt, Michigan, was one of my favorite speakers of the day. She lamented that kids have become fatter, sicker and have more caries on her watch, prompting the question: How could we do things differently?

Using her experience as the mom of an active, health conscious 18-year-old boy, she realized that the true goal needed to be helping kids to think – independently – that being healthy is cool. As part of that effort, opening the eyes of parents and children that caries management is more than just a procedure in the dental chair, but a wide gaze on the many factors that impact oral health, especially diet.

Multiple studies reveal that childhood obesity is the easiest malady to diagnose and the most difficult to treat. This is further complicated by dentists who are afraid to shame patients by mentioning weight. For Dr. Maples, that is a mirage of a hurdle.

“We don’t need to diagnose,” she said. “We need to ask good questions – such as how does your food make you feel. Have less of a know-it-all attitude and more of an ask-it-all approach.”

Dr. Maple’s practice started a three prong journey toward making this philosophy a reality for its young patients:

  • The Child Self-Prophy. Kids pick their own oral health implements (manual vs. power brush, toothpaste, flossers, etc.) and practice brushing their own teeth in front of the hygienist, who helps them learn how to do a more thorough job.

  • Health-related Science Experiments. Measuring out the true sugar in a soda or cereal, determining the protective of power fluoride using an egg, or the ick-factor of hydrogenated oil through hand washing drills. And there’s more!

  • Exposure to dentistry as a career. Allowing kids to shadow dental professionals in the office, experiment with sterilized, extracted teeth, or run forensic dentistry drills.

It’s about giving kids real skills, helping them learn how to make smarter choices, and allowing them to identify their own desired outcomes. It makes learning interesting, fun, and “sticky” in a way that a video might not be.

Dr. Maples threw out numerous ideas for experiments and skill-building exercises.  Her “hands-on learning lab” model is something that NCOHF is looking to put into a turnkey “kit” that allows public health dentists to bring some of those same elements of engagement on the road and into their communities.


CLIP: Editorial Reflections on Day 1

Sitting through today’s presentations, I felt like I was wearing a lot of different hats. There was, of course, the dental editor hat. But also my mom hat, the foster parent hat, the food policy geek. It was really wonderful to have so many different personas riled up at a dental event.

It was clear that there were a lot of creative ideas and potential solutions bubbling amongst the group. By the end, the Oral Health Zone concept seemed not only relevant – but necessary. A dental professional may be able to advocate for better habits, but nutritional choices matter. You might convince a kid that the healthy food choice is the right food choice, but if they live in a “food desert” neighborhood, those good choices might be three buses away. Maybe they get to that grocery store, but the healthy choice is twice as expensive. There are so many issues facing those on the margins of quality care, and the lack of a dental home is only one aspect. Without the Oral Health Zone strategy of engaging multiple community stakeholders, it will be nearly impossible to see all the change we so badly want and need actually come to pass.