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American Dental Hygienists’ Association

The source published by authors affiliated with the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) summarizes essential barriers to dental care optimization in the U.S. Basically, the document aims to apply systems thinking to propose viable paths toward positive change. From my perspective, the change-driver chart created by Rhea and Bettles (2011) identifies the central topics of interest for the dental hygiene profession in a successful manner. Notably, the discussion is not limited to patients’ issues and covers workforce-related challenges, such as educational opportunities, professional standards, and the long-term outcomes of workforce aging. Therefore, it can be said that all areas of critical importance have been listed.

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At the present moment, it seems that the profession is prepared to work in healthcare and community settings. Particularly, as the report indicates, advanced practice dental hygienists have numerous opportunities for collaboration with community health professionals for the optimization of disease prevention initiatives (Rhea & Bettles, 2011). At the same time, further resources and teamwork-related education might be required to propel this readiness to the next level.

Increasing workforce diversity and intercultural competence is another critical objective to inform further developments in the field. To achieve the stated goal, it is essential to plan and implement diversity recruiting practices and popularize dental hygiene as a career choice among high school students in racially diverse neighborhoods. The completion of competence training programs promoting at least basic intercultural knowledge as it pertains to dental self-care should become mandatory in diverse settings where dental hygienists work.

Finally, exploring the current social and legal landscape to identify ADHA’s potential partners is another priority. In the healthcare field and the non-profit sector, such partners may include community dental service staff and school-based dental services. As for the government and business, engaging in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and prominent dental care product brands that are popular in the U.S. might be productive.


Rhea, M., & Bettles, C. (2011). Dental hygiene at the crossroads of change: Environmental scan 2011-2021. American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Web.

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