Search Dental Tribune

Toward oral health equity


The latest news in dentistry free of charge.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Dr. Cesar Sabates is president of the American Dental Association. (Photo: Dr. Cesar Sabates)
Dr. Cesar Sabates, President, ADA

By Dr. Cesar Sabates, President, ADA

Mon. 24 January 2022


In 2022, I think we’ll see dentistry make greater strides in improving health equity — that is, helping everyone achieve their optimal level of oral health. Given the important role that oral health could play in a person’s overall wellbeing, we could see the beginnings of stronger integration across the health care profession — particularly between medicine and dentistry — for serving the whole-body needs of all patients, especially those in vulnerable populations.

Dental care is essential health care, and the American Dental Association continues its efforts to reduce disparities in oral health. Last fall, the ADA passed a policy on health equity and its Council on Access, Advocacy and Prevention is developing a robust action plan to reinforce the role of oral health in overall health; promote disease prevention and education through improved health literacy; make a positive impact on the social determinants of health; support cultural competency and diversity in dental treatment; continue to pursue reforms within public safety net programs; collect relevant data to design better systems of care coordination; and support efforts to improve equitable access to care.

The ADA continues to lead in the area of Community Water Fluoridation, one of the most economical and health equitable disease prevention strategies of all. We believe that safe and optimally fluoridated drinking water is the right of every citizen.

I also believe we’re likely to see continued consolidation in dentistry. Increased numbers of dentists will be part of group practices or supported by dental service organizations. This is evolving quickly as dentists continue to innovate new business models that can help them reach their goals. In 2019, the last year for which we have data, about one in 10 dentists was affiliated with a DSO, and we know that number is growing.

Whatever their practice setting, dentists are united in their commitment to excellent patient care. The ADA recognizes the value of a diverse profession and is working to provide the greatest membership value for all dentists. We all benefit from the ADA’s advocacy for public policies that improve the practice of dentistry and our nation’s oral health, and the ADA offers a myriad of valuable resources for a dentist’s entire career journey in our great profession.

Additionally, I think we will see emerging technologies continue to shape the delivery of dental care. Innovation has shifted the paradigm for our profession in many ways, including our methods of treatment and in how we evaluate clinical data. And when it’s coupled with dentists’ skills and expertise, technology can help us improve how we provide optimal care to our patients.

Note: This is story is part of an article on Predictions in Dentistry 2022, in which opinion leaders provide insights in what this year will bring us. It was published originally in Dental Tribune Latin America.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *