American Dental Education Association stresses importance of oral health care during pandemic


WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Noting that oral health is crucial to overall health care, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) says it is important that routine oral health care be allowed to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic, provided specific safety protocols are followed, including the use of PPE.

“A commitment to comprehensive health requires that oral and primary health care be considered in an integrated manner,” said Karen West, DMD, MPH, President and CEO of ADEA.

ADEA issued a statement following the interim guidelines, dated August 3, 2020, from the World Health Organization that made headlines and caused confusion in the field about the oral care of routine during the pandemic.

the WHO advice reads in part: “WHO advises that routine non-essential oral health care – which generally includes oral health check-ups, dental cleanings and preventive care – be delayed until it is there has been a sufficient reduction in transmission rates of COVID-19 from community transmission to cluster cases or in accordance with official recommendations at the national, subnational or local level.

Dr. West emphasized that providing safe and effective dental care is possible if specific protocols are followed, including the use of PPE. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides detailed advice for dental parameters.

“The fact is, dental offices and clinics have already reopened and are providing their patients with comprehensive and safe care,” Dr. West said. “Healthcare professionals, including those in oral care, are dedicated to stopping the spread of COVID-19. We can fight the pandemic without sacrificing patient care if we continue to educate ourselves, take proper precautions, and work together.

She added that if routine dental care were to be discouraged, it would have a detrimental effect on access to oral health professionals in the future. Such a move could disrupt continuing education in dental schools and programs where students, under the supervision of dentists, provide care to underserved populations.

“We must ensure that patients receive the dental care they need and that dental and dental hygiene students receive the clinical training they need so that our commitment to treating patients holistically is not eroded during this pandemic and beyond,” said Dr West.

About ADEA: The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is the voice of dental education. Our mission is to lead and support the health professions community in preparing future oral health professionals. Our members include all 78 US and Canadian dental schools, more than 800 allied and advanced dental education programs, more than 50 societies, and approximately 18,000 individuals. Our activities encompass a wide range of research, advocacy, faculty development, meetings and communications, including estimates Journal of Dental Education®as well as ADEA AADSAS dental school application services®ADEA PASS®ADEA DHCAS® and ADEA CAAPID®. For more information, visit


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