SBDHA Home Page

CODA to develop accreditation standards for dental therapist education programs

At its August 5, 2011 meeting, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) granted a request from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry to establish accreditation standards for dental therapy education programs.

It is important to note that CODA is not evaluating any existing dental therapy programs for accreditation. Rather, the Chair of the Commission, Dr. Donald Joondeph, will appoint a Task Force to develop new standards for dental therapy education programs. 

Read More

California Children Continue to Face Oral Health Epidemic

Report Finds the State is 'Off Track' in Meeting Dental Needs of Its Children

GLENDALE, Calif. (March 21, 2011) - Despite being one of the most preventable of all diseases, tooth decay continues to rank as the most widespread public health issue for California children, according to the California Dental Hygienists' Association (CDHA).

The warning comes on the heels of a report from the Pew Center on the States, which identified California as being 'off track' when it comes to addressing the dental needs of children.

'Poor oral care contributes to speech impediments, low self-esteem and a wide range of health problems involving infections,' said Ellen Standley, CDHA President. "It is unfortunate that one in four children has never even been to a dentist and that tooth decay is five times more prevalent than asthma."

The Pew Center, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving public policy, issued a 'C' grade to California, where it says more than 750,000 elementary school children had untreated tooth decay in 2006; conventional wisdom suggests that number is now closer to one million, according to CDHA. 

According to the Pew Report, California falls short in key oral healthcare policy benchmarks:

§  Only 27 percent of California drinking water supplies are fluoridated - far less than the national average of 75 percent;

§  Nationwide, the percentage of dentists' fees reimbursed by Medicaid is 60 percent, while California lagged behind with 34 percent.

CDHA continues to voice related concerns.  For instance, many dentists are not comfortable treating infants or very young children, instead they refer them to a children's specialist (pedodontist).  CDHA officials say this demonstrates why the role of a dental hygienist is so vital.

'The dental hygienist can provide mothers of infants and young children with simple nutritional counseling to help prevent dental decay,' said Standley. 'We are a trusted and reliable source of information about everything from proper brushing to the safe use of bottles and sippy cups.'

Additionally, disparities exist across race, ethnicity, and type of insurance when it comes to the length of time between dental care visits. Most dental practices don't accept Medicaid-enrolled children of any age, said Standley, and children are seen on an average of 10 times in a medical office before the first dental exam is ever scheduled.

'CDHA continues to make it a priority to raise awareness of pediatric oral health among policy makers, parents and the public health community,' said Standley. 'The good news is that with knowledge and public education, we can make headway in reducing tooth decay in our children.'

For more information, please visit the following web sites:,,

# # #

The California Dental Hygienists' Association (CDHA) is the authoritative voice of the state's dental hygiene profession. The organization was established 25 years ago when two regional associations merged to form a unified professional group. CDHA represents thousands of dental hygienists.

California Dental Hygienists' Association Urges Routine Office Screenings

GLENDALE, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2011) - To quit smoking and drinking remain worthy and recommended public health resolutions for 2011 but they are not enough to prevent oral cancer, the California Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) warned today.
"Tobacco and alcohol use are no longer the only major risk factors for oral cancer," reports Ellen Standley, CDHA President.  "The fastest growing segment of oral cancer victims is the non-smoker under 50 years of age."
The latest statistics indicate that over the next decade, exposure to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) will likely replace tobacco as the main causative agent for oral cancer, according to the latest research. The HPV positive group, specifically the strain responsible for cervical cancer, is a rapidly growing segment of the oral cancer population.  This new high-risk group includes persons under 40 who have never smoked or abused alcohol. Read more.


The long and winding road

California's path to self-regulation was full of twists and turns (RDH Magazine Nov 2010)

by Heidi Emmerling, RDH, PhD, and Ellen Standley, RDH, BS, MA

California dental hygienists did it! In 2009, the Dental Hygiene Committee of California (DHCC) distinguished California as the first state to achieve their own regulatory agency. The self-regulation process has not been a fast track. Thanks to many progressive California dental hygienists who have paved the way, certain key milestones stand out. The following events are considered part of the long history in the formation of the DHCC professional self regulating agency:

  • Early independent practice
  • Increasing the dental hygiene scope of practice and licensure categories
  • Joining northern and southern California for stronger advocacy
  • Acquiring dental hygiene representation on the Board of Dental Examiners
  • RDHAP licensure including pilot projects.

March Fong Eu was one of California's true gems. In the early 1940s, Fong, who later became California's Secretary of State and member of the State Assembly, began her career as a dental hygienist. Susan McLearan writes that Fong's position on self-accreditation and self-regulation has never wavered. Thus, the vision, discussion, and hard work that goes into becoming professionally autonomous started many years ago. Fong also served as ADHA president in the 1950s. During her presidential address she stated, "Dental hygiene is controlled by the dental profession. Dental hygiene is the only profession I know that is controlled entirely by another profession. It is not a simple process to divorce oneself from a dependency which has become part of our professional thinking; yet we must make this first step if we hope to be free." Read more.


CDHA Board Notes and Highlights of meeting held August 28, 2010 at the Burbank Airport Marriott, which is appropriate for reprinting in your component newsletters. Read More


News Alert from the DHCC

Digital fingerprinting will be required of all hygienists licensed with the Dental Hygiene Committee of California (DHCC) beginning with the April 1, 2011 renewal cycle. Paper fingerprinting cards will no longer fulfill this new legal requirement.  Licentiates renewing after January 1, 2011 will need to have Livescan digital fingerprints submitted as part of the renewal process. Licentiates who already have Livescan records on file after taking the CA state board examination will not need to be rescanned. Renewal applicants will need to download a DHCC Livescan form prior to going to a Livescan site for fingerprinting. Specific forms for RDHs, RDHAPs and RDHEFs are available on the DHCC web site.(

Click here for a list of livescan locations. (

For more information, visit the DHCC web site.


It’s official!  UCSF President Mark Yudof signed the approval for the Masters of Science in Dental Hygiene at UCSF.  This is truly a milestone for our profession.  Peggy Walsh has been working tirelessly with the full support and commitment of Dean Featherstone to get this program approved.  If all goes as planned, the first class will be accepted in June of 2011.  It is a one year program.


Worlds most powerful man speaks out about importance of oral health and the relationsip to total health!



PEW REPORT ON DENTAL CARE (PEW is a charitable trust set up by the Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew). Their work provides a constructive framework by permitting all sides to base their cases on a common set of facts. His goal is to 'tell the truth and trust the people". His approach is that the power of knowledge solves some of today's most challenging problems for the public good in a fact-based and nonpartisan way. This organization also played a key role in addressing the problem of global climate change, the project accumulated incontrovertible evidence on this evolving environmental phenomenon. The scientific data and other peer-reviewed studies were so convincing that in 2005 the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and 10 of its foreign counterparts issued a joint statement that essentially ended the debate on whether climate change was occurring. 

Read more

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 3590, the health care overhaul bill passed by the Senate in December, thus ushering in a new era of heath care delivery in the United States. The 219-212 vote closely followed party lines with only Democrats voting in favor of the measure. The bill now awaits President Obama's signature in order to become law. H.R. 3590 contains a number of oral health provisions that will have a significant impact on the oral health care delivery system and the dental hygiene profession. As the leading resource for information about your profession, ADHA offers this update on health reform as part of the series of health reform e-mails that have been sent since August.

The House vote brings closure to more than a year of national debate about whether or not to fundamentally overhaul the national health care system. The new law will extend health care coverage to tens of millions of Americans. While much media attention has been focused on the broad medical provisions contained in H.R. 3590, little has been reported about the significant oral health provisions included in the bill. The following offers an overview of some of the key oral health provisions:

Read more.

How Dental Care Will Be Changed by Healthcare Reform

Health reform will offer major changes in the arena of dental care; the bill that has been offered by the United States Congress for healthcare reform will have a lasting effect on the field of dentistry and the type of dental care that people receive.

There promises to be a huge expansion of coverage for individuals in need of dental care once health reform is initiated. The healthcare reform bill looks very promising for people who have long awaited adequate coverage for their dental needs.

Children will get greater dental care because the health reform options are seeking to cover all children in the United States today. Funding will possibly be offered for professionals within the industry seeking to further their education in the field of dentistry too; this means more qualified dentists to treat more individuals who receive coverage via the healthcare reform bill.

Read more.


At 7am on December 24th, the Senate passed H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The passage of the legislation marks another hurdle in the effort to pass sweeping health reform legislation in Congress. The House passed its health reform bill in November and now Senate and House leadership will reconcile the differences between the two pieces of legislation, setting the stage for final passage of a health reform bill. 

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) is committed to keeping the dental hygiene community informed on health reform matters that impact the profession. Both the House and Senate bills contain significant oral health provisions that are not often mentioned in media coverage of health reform.  

ADHA respects that there are many opinions on health reform within the dental hygiene community. This update is not intended to sway recipients in one direction or the other on the issue, but is offered as a means to update dental hygiene professionals about the oral health provisions contained in the Senate bill (H.R. 3590) and the House bill (H.R. 3962).

Read more.




ADA Launches Community Dental Health Coordinator Pilot Program at Temple University

CHICAGO, Nov. 24, 2009-The American Dental Association (ADA) has signed an agreement with Temple University to train new dental team members as part of a pilot program to improve the oral health in underserved communities. The Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) is a member of the dental health team who works in communities where residents have limited access to dental care to improve their oral health.

The CDHC provides a limited range of preventive dental care services-including screenings and fluoride treatments. However, of greater importance to these communities, the CDHC will help patients navigate the health system and access care by a dentist or an appropriate clinic and engage in educational activities to improve community members' oral health habits.

Read more.