Oral Fitness

 Oral Healthcare and Non-Dental Healthcare Providers

Last Updated: August 24, 2023
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Army DA PAM 40-507 Preventive Dentistry, 29 May 2015​External Link

AR 40-35 Preventive Dentistry and Dental Readiness, 21 Jul 2016External Link

What is the Health Care Provider's Role in Oral Health?  All health care providers should make sure that their patients understand the importance of maintaining good oral health. Every health care provider is "on the front line" in the war against oral disease, not just dental health care providers. Research findings are confirming associations between chronic oral diseases and nutritional deficiencies, diabetes, lung diseases, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and low-birth-weight, premature births. The mouth is the window to overall health and well-being.

An ever-increasing body of literature is fleshing out the connection between oral diseases and systemic conditions such as: cardiovascular disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia. Poor oral health has also been shown to be associated with preterm, low birth weight, and poor glycemic control among diabetics. Learn more at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial ResearchExternal Link .

Oral Health Resources for Healthcare Provi​​ders

Detecting Oral Cancer: A Guide for IndividualsExternal Link National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research provides a comprehensive website with information on oral cancer, from incidence and the importance of early detection to how to do an oral cancer screening examination.

Head and Neck CancersExternal Link The CDC provides information on head and neck cancer symptoms, causes, risks and statistics. 

Mother's Vitamin D Status during Pregnancy Will Affect Her Baby's Dental HealthExternal Link Low maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy may affect primary tooth calcification, leading to enamel defects which are a risk factor for early-childhood tooth decay. During the 86th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, investigators presented the results of a study they conducted to determine the vitamin D status of pregnant women, the incidence of enamel defects and early-childhood tooth decay among their infants, and the relationship with pre-natal vitamin D levels.

Pregnancy and Oral HealthcareExternal Link 'Protect Tiny Teeth' is a health communication resource designed to make conversations easier between pregnant women, moms and their non-dental healthcare providers. 

​Pregnancy and Your Oral Health presentationExternal Link (Sep 14)​. Educational slidedeck on the changes pregnancy makes on oral health.​ 



Dental Readiness and Comm​unit​y Oral Health Protection Program

Because of the interdependence of general health and oral health, dentists need to focus on the entire body and well-being of the individual. This was the vision of MG (RET) Patrick Sculley, a former Army Dental Corps Chief and Deputy Surgeon General, when he decreed, "…put more dental into health promotion and more health promotion into the Army Dental Care System." The Dental Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program has incorporated this vision.

The Health Promotion and Disease Prevention components include:

  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Caries Risk Assessment and Interventions
  • Family Violence
  • Fluorides
  • Mouthguard Education
  • Nutrition
  • Sealants
  • Skin, lip and oral cancer screening and counseling
  • Tobacco Risk Assessment

In order to keep providers abreast of the most current developments in oral disease prevention, the Dental Directorate conducts annual training for all DENTAC Dental Readiness Officers. These officers can then, in turn, disseminate the knowledge to other dental providers at their posts. 


Continuing Educat​ion

Smiles for LifeExternal Link
Smiles for Life is a comprehensive oral health curriculum for primary care clinicians developed by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Group on Oral Health. The seven course curriculum is designed to meet the requirements mandating education of physicians in oral health.


Pediatric Or​​al Health

Article: Army dentist shares why oral healthcare should begin during infancy​External Link (Feb 2023)

During Pregnancy and Early ChildhoodExternal Link New York State Department of Health website with info and Clinical Practice Guidelines 

Open Wide: Oral Health Training for Health ProfessionalsExternal Link Modules designed to help health and early childhood professionals working in community settings promote oral health in the course of promoting general health for infants, children, and their families.

Pediatric Oral Health ManagementExternal Link A health professional's guide: seven modules designed to assist health professionals in managing the oral health of infants and young children.

TrainingFinder Real-time Affiliate Integrated NetworkExternal Link (TRAIN) The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center has listed distance learning curricula with TRAIN. The curricula are free and can be taken for a completion certificate through TRAIN. Train completion certificates may be recognized by your state; check your state's licensing requirements. Some of the curricula offer continuing education credits as noted below. Please share the availability of these free distance learning curricula with your colleagues.

IMPORTANT: To earn the completion certificate (for those ineligible for credits):
1. Register at Train.org
2. Search for a course
3. Register and read the course, but **do not** take the assessment on the curriculum site
4. Return to Train to mark the course complete in "My Learning"
5. Take the assessment on Train.


Health Commun​icat​​ion

Gateway to Health Communication & Social Marketing PracticeExternal Link Access many resources to help build your health communication or social marketing campaigns and programs.