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Dental Hygiene Resources

This LibGuide is designed to help you locate and use a variety of reliable sources for ICC's Dental Hygiene program courses.

What is Dental Public Health?

The American Association of Public Health Dentistry defines dental public health as "the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts."  So, dental public health, or community dentistry, goes beyond clinical practice and individual patients by proactively reaching out to the community as a whole in order to educate the public about maintaining optimal oral health as a way to prevent and control potential dental health problems.   

This specialized movement or focus within the field of dentistry officially originated in the 1950s, and has since then developed three main areas of activity:

  1. Research - focusing on factors or methods that help prevent oral health issues
  2. Educating and promoting - dental health professionals interact with community members outside of the clinic to teach and promote good oral hygiene habits.  The most common form of this activity is seen in public schools, with dental professionals visiting elementary classes to instruct on regular oral health habits and to discuss the importance of keeping their mouth clean and healthy.
  3. Expanding access to dental health care for underserved or at-risk populations.

Dental public health or community dentistry is an increasingly important field, particularly with the focus on preventative care sweeping the broader health professions.  As such, there are a variety of organizations, groups, and resources devoted to the topic.  If you would like to explore this issue further, consider visiting:  

American Association of Public Health Dentistry

This website provides links to archived position and policy papers and numerous different reports (current and historical) of interest to dental public health professionals, in addition to providing information about the AAPHD and American Board of Public Health Dentistry, and numerous links to other related organizations.

Oral Health America

Oral Health America's website informs visitors about the organization's mission and  the many programs developed to help achieve it, like the Campaign for Oral Health Equity and Smiles Across America.  There are also links to grant opportunities for dental clinics looking to increase their community impact and involvement.

US Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) - Oral Health

This section of the DHHS HRSA's website offers a variety of valuable resources, including toolkits designed for dental public health professionals looking to improve community members' access to care.  There are also links to pertinent reports and oral health initiatives, as well as free access to nearly 70 different oral health publications.

Association of Clinicians for the Underserved - Oral Health

This page provides access to a variety of oral health fact sheets for professional use and patient education, as well as resource lists and guides for quick and easy reference.

Select Dental Public Health resources

As a significant specialization within the dental health professions, there are many resources available on dental public health or community dentistry.  Here are some of the highlights that you can access via the ICC Peoria Campus Library's print and digital collections.



Journal of Public Health Dentistry

This journal seeks to advance public health dentistry by publishing scholarly, authoritative articles based on original research, as well as reviews of existing and emerging evidence-based clinical practices and methods.  You can access this journal in print at the Peoria Campus Library.


Journal of the International Society for Preventative and Community Dentistry

This journal provides information on a variety of topics crucial to preventative and community dentistry including oral epidemiology, oral health services research, oral health education and promotion, ethics and oral health, and program quality assessment. You can access this journal electronically through  Health Reference Center Academic.