Oral Health Initiatives

Our Work on Oral Health

The APhA Foundation has a history of creating innovation in pharmacy practice. Recognizing that pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals, the Foundation began exploring how pharmacists might engage in interdisciplinary efforts to promote oral health.

Since 2010, the Foundation has been connecting with stakeholders and participating in events including the New Mexico Oral Health Advisory Council, the American Academy of Pediatrics Oral Health Steering Committee, the DentaQuest Foundation, National Inter-professional Initiative on Oral Health, Oral Health Physician Assistants Leadership Summit, US National Oral Health Alliance - Leadership Colloquia, and the American Dental Association (ADA) Prevention Summit, to further pursue opportunities in the oral health space. 

The Foundation also has created a framework for the inter-disciplinary engagement of pharmacists in prevention efforts. This principle-centered approach focuses on prevention, partnership, quality, documentation and empowerment. Pharmacists should protect their patients' health by being early childhood caries (ECC) prevention advocates and should adopt one of three levels of involvement in ECC prevention advocacy:

  • Be an educator (motivating people to maintain good oral health);
  • Be a facilitator (hosting others who provide oral health services);
  • Be a preventor (protecting vulnerable people, consistent with state law).

Pharmacists should focus their oral health efforts on diseases that are the most significant sources of preventable morbidity among the American people, such as early childhood caries prevention.  In addition, pharmacists should routinely determine the oral health status of patients, then refer patients to another appropriate dental provider for treatment and care.

View the video on this page for educational information on how medication management impacts oral health.  The video was created in partnership with the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants Health Foundation with support from the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health (NIIOH) and funding from the Dentaquest Foundation, Washington Dental Service Foundation, and the Connecticut Health Foundation.