Preserving Research Funding in Dentistry

An interesting article titled “The vital role of research funding in preserving the oral health of the public and the dental profession,” appears as a guest editorial in the June 2015, issue of JADA and written by Maxine Feinber and et. al. The article discusses how it is critical that investments in dental, oral, and craniofacial research continue in the United States to help improve the nations oral health.

The article states

“…oral diseases persist on a scale that is poorly understood and wholly unacceptable… 3.9 billion people had oral conditions, with untreated dental caries in permanent teeth the most prevalent disease, affecting 35% of the world’s population….1 in 5 Americans is afflicted with dental caries…”

The article says that around 4% of health care spending in the U.S. is for dental services. Even so we know little about oral disease and what it takes to eradicate it. The authors feel we need research on many different fronts and we need research on how to best prepare dental professionals.

The authors state

“Research also helps define us as a profession. The dental profession must continue to support clinically relevant science to advance our knowledge of comprehensive patient care, or it has the potential to devolve into a trade. Embracing a multifaceted research agenda and joining forces in truly integrated partnerships to secure funding are essential first steps that could ultimately reap huge rewards, transforming dentistry from being primarily procedure based to being evidence based.”

The authors say that Congress needs to act to as federal investment in healthcare research has declined. The authors say this is essential for the U.S. to maintain it’s competitive edge. Other developed and developing countries have been increasing their health research capacity.

A discussion of various dental research organizations and how they have come together to help conduct research for oral health is made. The authors want all members of the dental profession to join together to call for more oral health research.

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