Latest Inside Dental Hygiene News

Fluoride-Containing Prophy Paste in Three Cleaning Grits

VOCO introduces CleanJoy, a fluoride-containing, splatter-free, less abrasive prophy paste in three cleaning grits and three delicious flavors. Containing fluoride (700ppm) and xylitol, paraben-free and available in SingleDose cups, CleanJoy is a safe, hygienic and effective paste for the prevention of caries, the removal of soft and hard surface plaque, the removal of extrinsic stains (e.g., coffee, tea, tobacco, etc.), the polishing of tooth surfaces and restorations as part of professional cleanings, and more.

CleanJoy is available in caramel, mint, and cherry flavors and in three less abrasive grits—fine, medium and course—for use in a wide range of clinical situations. The fine grit features a low enough abrasion grade (RDA) that it is suitable for use with implants. CleanJoy has a stable, homogenous consistency, will not clump or dry out, and does not splatter, even when used with a polisher spinning at up to 3,000 rpms. VOCO is proud to add CleanJoy to its large catalog of high-quality product solutions that continue to service dental professionals and their patients throughout North America.

American Mobile & Teledentistry Alliance Names President

The American Mobile & Teledentistry Alliance announced that Dr. Kwane Watson has been selected as its first-ever President.

“Dr. Watson brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, talent, and enthusiasm to our mission,” the Board of Directors says in a statement. “We are thrilled to have someone with Dr. Watson’s leadership experience and knowledge of mobile and teledentistry representing our organization.”

Dr. Kwane Watson is the founder and CEO of Kare Mobile, a consulting company and mobile dental practice which provides comprehensive concierge services. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. Serving 20 years in various leadership roles within the dental industry, he serves as an industry expert and thought leader.

“As President, my primary focus is three-fold,” says Dr. Watson. “I strive to increase industry awareness of the alliance, to advance legislative policy on mobile and portable dentistry, and to create an environment within the organization of inclusion, where all members can share ideas and collaborate on improving oral health access and best practices.”

The American Mobile & Teledentistry Alliance launched in January 2020 as a unique international association of mobile dental health professionals and organizations who are dedicated to promoting and providing oral health and well-being for patients in a mobile or virtual healthcare setting. The alliance provides educational resources and information exchange for members, which include dentists, dental hygienists, non-dental healthcare providers, health program administrators, residents, students, as well as organizations. The organization advocates for national legislation and develops initiatives to advance the mobile and teledentistry niche. For more information on becoming a member or a corporate partner, visit

New Calibration Program for Clinical Dental Educators Launches from Penn Dental Medicine and AAL

AAL partners with Penn Dental Medicine to offer an online certification program for clinical dental educators.

ATLANTA (PRWEB) October 31, 2019

The University of Pennsylvania's School of Dental Medicine (Penn Dental Medicine) and the Academy for Advancing Leadership (AAL), an education and healthcare consulting firm, are now enrolling faculty and individuals into the Fundamentals of Clinical Education (FCE). The FCE is an online, asynchronous program for new, adjunct, and transitioning faculty members in dental and dental hygiene education. The program is available to both institutions and individuals.

This cobranded initiative is designed to calibrate and orient predoctoral, postgraduate, and dental hygiene clinical educators. The program is comprised of five modules covering crucial topics in clinical education, including: effective communication with patients and students, cultural competency and inclusion, student motivation, best practices for effective feedback, working with challenging students, and accreditation.

According to the American Dental Education Association, more than half of all dental school faculty in 2016-2017 were part-time, and 55 percent of new faculty came from private practice. Dr. Karl Haden, AAL President, describes the program as "a bridge between the private practice of dentistry and those who are moving into academic positions." He adds, "The FCE fills an unmet need to help those transitioning to, or interested in, academic careers understand the roles and responsibilities of the oral health educator." The program will equip clinical faculty members with the fundamental knowledge and skills they need to be effective clinical educators and valuable team members at their institutions. Offered through Penn Dental Medicine's online learning platform, the program provides participants the flexibility of an at-your-pace online learning experience taught by leading experts from Penn Dental Medicine and AAL.

Of the online program, Dr. Mark S. Wolff, Morton Amsterdam Dean of Penn Dental Medicine, says, "There are so many different aspects to building a strong clinical faculty, and we are pleased to help develop this as another resource in that process. While each dental school faculty is unique, there are universal qualities to effective teaching and interaction with students and those lessons can be an invaluable tool for those entering the field."

For enrollment information or for a demonstration, please visit or contact AAL Vice President Dr. Tobias Rodriguez at

About the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine:
The mission of Penn Dental Medicine is to educate pre-doctoral and graduate dental students in the highest quality clinical and research environment. Established in 1878, Penn Dental Medicine is a private, Ivy League institution with a history deeply rooted in forging precedents in dental education, research, and patient care. Since its founding, dentistry has been taught in a scientific environment as a specialty of medicine and under the multidisciplinary umbrella of the University of Pennsylvania. Learn more at

About AAL:
AAL is a management consulting firm headquartered in Atlanta. AAL works with organizational leaders to achieve their goals through strategy and professional development. The firm has helped over 150 esteemed institutions and 5,000+ leaders propel education and healthcare forward. Learn more at

Use FDA MedWatch to report poor clinical outcomes from DIY plastic teeth aligners

By Kelly Ganski

The ADA reminds dentists of the Food and Drug Administration's MedWatch voluntary reporting form to report poor clinical outcomes associated with the use of medical devices, including direct-to-consumer plastic teeth aligners offered by several companies.

This resource provides important data to the FDA concerning the public health and safety of medical devices under the agency's jurisdiction.

The period for submitting public comment to the citizen petition the ADA filed with the FDA closed Oct. 22. In the petition, the ADA argued that SmileDirectClub is placing the public at risk by knowingly evading the FDA's "by prescription only" restriction for plastic aligners, which are an FDA Class II medical device. But dentists and consumers can still report bad clinical outcomes using the FDA's MedWatch voluntary reporting form anytime.

"Although the comment period for the FDA citizen petition has ended, FDA MedWatch provides an ongoing platform for dentists to speak up when they encounter the negative outcomes connected to mail-order aligners and other devices," ADA President Chad P. Gehani said. "Patients can also report any adverse experiences on MedWatch. Collectively, we can all play a part in advocating for safety and parity in dental treatment."

Dr. Gehani also stated, "Innovation in dentistry is always welcome, but innovation should never shirk the standard of care. When patient health and safety are at risk, the ADA has a responsibility to advocate on behalf of patients. That's why we shared our concerns about mail-order aligners with the regulatory agencies charged with protecting the public."

In lieu of having dentists review patient dental records or perform any sort of patient exam (whether using teledentistry or otherwise) before prescribing orthodontic treatment, SmileDirectClub instead requires customers to self-report their dental condition. As the ADA explains in its citizen petition, customer self-reporting does not meet the applicable standard of care because it does not satisfy a dentist's requisite professional due diligence.

For dentists who ultimately see patients who have had a bad clinical outcome from trying direct-to-consumer dentistry, it's important to view their previous charts to provide the most complete care. As in most other situations involving patients who were previously treated by another provider, dentists who have treated patients with adverse outcomes from plastic teeth aligners should ask their patients to request their records from the direct-to-consumer company.

"The ADA would like to remind dentists who treat patients subsequent to direct-to-consumer aligners, that obtaining the patient's treatment records is important for continuity of care and inclusion in the general dental treatment record," said ADA President-elect Daniel Klemmedson. "Patients have a legal right to obtain all clinical records from treating dentists or direct-to-consumer companies."

In addition to its citizen petition, on June 27, the ADA sent a complaint letter to the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, raising concerns about what the ADA believes are SmileDirectClub's deceptive advertising and marketing practices. The FTC also offers consumers an online form to report complaints about unfair and deceptive business practices on its website.

Dentists can visit and click on "Health Professional" to start their report. They will have to fill out a questionnaire on the patient's basic information - age, weight, race, etc. - then provide information about the problem, including a description, what the outcome was, any lab results and whether there's a product available to evaluate. Dentists will also be asked a series of questions about the product and its manufacturer. Not all questions are required to be answered.

Dentists have to include their name but their address is optional and can check a box if they do not want their identity disclosed to the manufacturer in question.

At NCD's recommendation, all U.S. dental schools will train students to manage treatment of people with intellectual, developmental disabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As recommended by the National Council on Disability (NCD), all U.S. dental schools must now revamp their curricula and training programs to be inclusive of patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD).

The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) recently passed votes requiring dental schools to now train their students in managing treatment of patients with ID/DD. Previously, patients with ID/DD were largely unable to obtain dental care treatment because dental students were simply not required to learn to manage their treatment.

"Every dental patient in America deserves the same care, whether or not they have a disability," said NCD Chairman Neil Romano. "NCD applauds this decision that we view as necessary for people with ID/DD to obtain critical access to dental treatment, which is critical to the total health of all people."

CODA held and passed four related votes regarding the predoctoral dental, orthodontics, dental hygiene, and dental assistant programs:

For predoctoral programs and orthodontics programs, dental students must be trained to assess and manage the treatment of patients with "special needs [sic]."

For dental hygiene programs, students must be competent in providing care to "special needs [sic]" patient populations.

For dental assistant programs, students must be familiarized with patients with "special needs [sic]" including patients whose medical, physical, psychological, or social conditions make it necessary to modify normal dental routines.

CODA generally defines people with "special needs (sic)" as people with developmental disabilities, cognitive impairment, complex medical problems, significant physical limitations, and the vulnerable elderly.

Changes for the predoctoral dental, dental hygiene, and dental assistant programs are required to take effect by July 1, 2020, with changes to the orthodontics programs required by Jan. 1.

NCD first made recommendations to CODA following its 2017 issue brief "Neglected for Too Long: Dental Care for Patients with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities," in which NCD's findings included:

• Adults with developmental disabilities are at risk for multiple health problems including poor oral health.

• People with I/DD regularly face an uphill battle in finding clinicians properly trained to treat them because most dentists lack the proper training and exposure with respect to the health and psychosocial needs of this population.

• According to one study, more than 50 percent of dental and medical school deans have stated that their graduates are not competent to treat patients with I/DD; as a result, people with I/DD are more likely to have poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, and untreated dental caries than are members of the general population.

• People with I/DD have been more likely to not have had their teeth cleaned in the past five years, or never to have had their teeth cleaned, than those who are not disabled.

• Due to the lack of proper skills among dentists, dental care is often more difficult to find than any other type of service for people with I/DD.

Last year, NCD successfully worked with the American Dental Association to revise its Code of Professional Conduct to state that "dentists shall not refuse to accept patients into their practice or deny dental service to patients because of the patient's…disability." This code revision was adopted by many states as state law of professional conduct.

First established as an advisory council within the Department of Education in 1978, NCD became an independent federal agency in 1984. In 1986, NCD recommended enactment of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and drafted the first version of the bill which was introduced in the House and Senate in 1988. Since enactment of the ADA in 1990, NCD has continued to play a leading role in crafting disability policy, and advising the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policies, programs, and practices.

Does poor oral health impact brain function?

By Lauren Sharkey

Perceived stress may detrimentally impact oral health which, in turn, may lead to cognitive decline among specific elderly communities, according to two new studies.

Oral health can be a surprisingly good indicator of a person's well-being. Not only can oral diseases reduce a person's quality of life, but they can also increase the risk of other serious conditions.

Researchers have linked gum disease and tooth loss to the occurrence of stroke. An article published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology in 2010 concluded that gum disease could raise a person's risk of heart disease by around 20%. It is, however, necessary to carry out more research in these areas.

Teams at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, have now focused on a different link - the one between oral health and cognitive decline.

A recently published review of 23 studies found evidence of a relationship between oral health and cognitive aspects, such as memory and executive function.

Now, a team from Rutgers University carried out two separate studies into cognitive decline and perceived stress. Both papers appear in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The Chinese American focus

The studies focused on Chinese American adults with a minimum age of 60. "Racial and ethnic minorities are particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences of poor oral health," explains XinQi Dong, director of Rutgers University's Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research.

He continues, "Minorities have less access to preventive dental care that is further exacerbated by language barriers and low socioeconomic status. Older Chinese Americans are at particular risk for experiencing oral health symptoms due to lack of dental insurance or not visiting a dental clinic regularly."

Participants for both studies came from the Population Study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago (PINE). The first study quizzed people on their oral health and gave them five cognitive tests to complete.

The second study asked participants if they had ever experienced dry mouth issues. Researchers then asked them to measure their perceived stress, social support, and social strain levels using pre-defined scales.

Social support referred to how often they felt able to open up to or rely on their family members or friends. Researchers defined social strain as how often participants experienced excessive demands or criticism from friends or relatives.

A cognitive link

Out of the more than 2,700 Chinese Americans interviewed, almost half reported tooth-related symptoms. Just over a quarter said they had experienced dry mouth.

There was no significant relationship between gum and cognitive problems. However, researchers believe participants may have been less likely to report gum symptoms due to finding them less problematic.

The researchers did find a link between cognitive decline - specifically global cognition and episodic memory decline - and tooth symptoms. Episodic memory issues themselves have a link to the onset of dementia.

The researchers found a similar association in the second study. Those who reported more perceived stress were more likely to report dry mouth. Spousal social support or strain did not reduce this relationship, but support from friends appeared to protect against dry mouth in some way.

"However, the potential overload of such support could be detrimental to oral health outcomes among older Chinese Americans," notes study author Weiyu Mao, assistant professor at the University of Nevada's School of Social Work.

Oral health is key

Any conclusion formed from self-reported data has its limitations. However, the team believes their findings point to a need for better awareness of immigrant health and psychosocial influences on said health.

Dong says they "demonstrate the importance of examining immigrant oral health outcomes later in life to understand the specific type of outcomes of different cultural groups."

"The studies further serve as a call to action for policymakers to develop programs aimed at improving oral health preventive and dental care services in this high risk population."
— XinQi Dong

Ensuring good oral health of older Chinese Americans should be a primary goal, according to the team.

Mao notes, "intervention strategies need to expand beyond the common risk factors, such as health conditions and health behaviors, and account for the psychosocial determinants, including stress and social support." Inclusive efforts such as these could even go some way to reducing cognitive decline.

ADA Statement on Study in JAMA Pediatrics

August 19, 2019

CHICAGO - The American Dental Association (ADA) remains committed to fluoridation of public water supplies as the single most effective public health measure to help prevent tooth decay. This commitment is shared by many national and international organizations, including the World Health Organization, US Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Public health policy is based on a collective weight of scientific evidence. The ADA is aware of a new study conducted in Canada in which its authors reviewed maternal exposure to fluoride in pregnancy. We welcome this and further scientific study of the issue to see if the findings can be replicated with methods that demonstrate more conclusive evidence.

Throughout more than 70 years of research and practical experience, the overwhelming weight of credible scientific evidence has consistently indicated that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe. The evidence-based research shows the recommended concentrations of fluoride (0.7 mg/L) used in community water fluoridation is beneficial and safe for the public.

Since the introduction of community water fluoridation in 1945, and the addition of fluoride in toothpaste, tooth decay rates in the U.S. have dropped significantly. Today, even with wide-spread availability of fluoride toothpaste, studies show community water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing tooth decay by more than 25 percent in children and adults.

The ADA remains focused on how and if emerging evidence might impact public health recommendations and policies. We will continue to evaluate the validity of emerging evidence and research to support the advancement of the health of the public. To learn more about the benefits of fluoride, please visit

Off-Setting Oral Health Disparities Among Low-Income Americans


(BUSINESS WIRE) -- The benefits of good dental care can result in more than just a pretty smile. And as National Children’s Dental Health Month gets underway, healthcare providers are encouraging parents to help their children develop good oral health habits that can lead to a lifetime of overall health and wellness. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), tooth decay, or cavities, is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions in the United States occurring more among children from low-income or minority families. Studies show:

Poor dental care can cause serious health problems beyond the mouth and teeth. AmeriHealth Caritas urges parents and caregivers to help children learn how to take proper care of teeth to support future health.

• Tooth decay is prevalent among 25 percent of children from low-income families – more than double that of children from higher-income families (11 percent).

• African American youths had the most untreated cavities, 17.1 percent compared with Hispanic (13.5 percent) white (11.7 percent), and Asian (10.5 percent) youth.1

The American Dental Association has tracked the historical trend of racial disparity in oral health care -- and its correlation to income levels -- over several decades, finding that as family income levels increase, the prevalence of untreated cavities and tooth decay decreases.2 Socioeconomic factors and a lack of access to healthcare may contribute to poor dental health for children – problems that, if untreated, can continue as children enter adulthood. AmeriHealth Caritas, a national leader in Medicaid managed care, offers dental benefits to help reduce oral health disparities among children and adults in greatest need.

Failure to maintain good dental hygiene for children can lead to a variety of problems in addition to tooth decay, including halitosis (also known as chronic bad breath), gum disease, and even tooth loss. Additionally, tooth decay can adversely impact a child’s ability to eat, speak and learn.

“The earlier you get a child to the dentist, the better. The more proactive you are about a child’s dental care, the more you can know about his or her dental health and the more likely you are to avert problems down the road,” said Lawrence Paul, DDS, vice president of Corporate Dental with AmeriHealth Caritas.

Poor dental care can also cause serious health problems beyond the mouth and teeth. Research shows that neglecting dental hygiene can be linked to diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and heart disease.3 In very rare cases, tooth decay can be deadly, Dr. Paul added, referencing the tragic case of a 12-year-old Maryland boy who died in 2007 due to a severe brain infection caused by dental decay.

"Oral disease can have an impact on physical, psychological, social, and economic health and well-being through pain, diminished function, and reduced quality of life,” Dr. Paul said. “So it’s vitally important that parents and caregivers know how to best care for the dental needs of their children, showing them how to properly brush and floss so they eventually know how to care for their teeth on their own.”

An early start to good dental hygiene can help develop lifelong habits that contribute to healthier and happier outcomes. Some simple advice to preventing dental problems includes:

Go For Two – Children should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes. Most municipalities have fluorinated water, but it’s also worthwhile to brush using toothpaste with fluoride, a natural mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and prevents cavities. For young children, parents and caregivers should monitor their children to ensure they are properly brushing all of their teeth and that they avoid swallowing toothpaste, which can upset the stomach and cause gastrointestinal problems.

Get Flossy With It – Even brushing twice a day won’t get rid of all the food and plaque that can become stuck in between teeth. Children should floss once a day to ensure that their teeth are completely clean.

An Apple a Day Keeps Tooth Decay at Bay – Children that have diets low in sugar are less likely to develop cavities or other problems with their teeth. Dr. Paul says children (and adults!) should eat foods that have cleansing effects, such as fruits and vegetables, especially apples. The American Dental Association adds that children should drink plenty of water and eat a variety of foods in addition to fruits and vegetable, including whole grains, lean sources of protein and low-fat dairy foods.

First Things First – Children should see a dentist soon after their first tooth appears or by their first birthday – whichever happens first. The best way to stay on top of dental health is for children to be seen by their dentist twice a year.


1. “CDC: Minorities still most at risk for caries.” April 19, 2018
2. Gabriel, Erin. “Fewer dental cavities found in young people, but minorities still most at risk.” April 16, 2018.
3. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Oral health: A window to your overall health.” November 1, 2018.

Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future Grants to Improve Oral Health of Young Children

Toronto, (Jan. 15, 2019)

(PRNewswire) -- The Canada-United States Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) has awarded four interprofessional grants totaling over $50,000.00 (USD) to fund projects that will have a positive impact on reducing the instance of dental caries, which is reversible, for children aged 0-6. These projects will be carried out in 2019.

The grant program aims to bring together groups outside of dentistry, such as pediatrics and primary care, to help underserved communities. Made possible through funding from Colgate-Palmolive, the grants focus on populations with high caries needs and disadvantaged communities such as those with low incomes and or limited access to care.

Worldwide, 60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have tooth decay.i In fact, dental caries (which includes all stages of tooth decay) is the most common, yet preventable, chronic disease on the planet. The impact of this disease has a profound impact on children in North America. In Canada, an estimated 2.26 million school days are missed each year due to dental related illness.ii In the United States, a child is five times more likely to seek emergency room treatment for dental problems than for asthma, often because they can't see a dentist, are uninsured or can't afford routine dental care.iii

"This grant funds projects that exemplify recognition of the need for interprofessional collaboration to address oral health needs," said Robert Schroth, Associate Professor in the Department of Preventive Dental Science (Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry) and the Department of Pediatrics & Child Health (Max Rady College of Medicine), University of Manitoba, and Co-Chair, Canada-U.S. Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. "It is through working together that we can find the best solutions and provide the most thoughtful approaches to prevent dental caries."

Since the first of these grants were awarded in 2016, the program has been able to fund four recipients this year, with programs that will aim to improve the oral health of children in various localities.

"We are very excited to have the opportunity to fund so many much-needed projects this year," said Margherita Fontana, DDS, PhD, Professor, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, and Co-Chair, Canada-U.S. Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. "We believe these programs will have a significant impact on our ability to understand how interprofessional efforts can help address dental caries disparities."


i. World Health Organization, Report on Oral Health, 2003. Available at: Accessed November 17, 2016.
ii. National Children's Oral Health Foundation. Facts about decay. Available at: Accessed November 17, 2016.
iii. National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center. Key Oral Health Messages. Available at: Accessed November 17, 2016.

ADHA Supports Upcoming Update to Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health

Chicago, IL (August 1, 2018)

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) applauds the federal agencies that will be involved in updating the Surgeon General’s Report on oral health. This update will document progress in oral health over the last 20 years and create a vision for the future.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the update on July 27 and is working alongside several federal agencies to commission this Surgeon General’s Report.

The original Surgeon General’s Report on oral health was first released in 2000 and evaluated the link between oral health and overall well-being. The updated report will further assess how poor oral health affects physical and economic well-being, how oral health care is often treated as a supplemental benefit and more.

ADHA commends these efforts to update the nation on key issues in oral health and will continue to support the updated report as it is developed.

About the American Dental Hygienists’ Association

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) is the largest national organization representing the professional interests of more than 185,000 dental hygienists across the country. Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in dental hygiene, who provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health. For more information about ADHA, dental hygiene or the link between oral health and general health, visit ADHA at