What is the ADA?

If you pay attention to oral care commercials, you’ll often see that the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends this or that.  But who is the ADA?  What’s their purpose?  And how can you, as a consumer, benefit from them?

The ADA – A brief history

The ADA (www.ada.org) is the largest dental association in the world.  But it didn’t start that way.  It started with just a few dentists in Niagara Falls, NY in 1859.  The ADA started as a resource for dentists to promote standards and scientific research.  It grew (other than a hiatus during the Civil War) and in 1899 expanded its bylaws to attract more members.

In the early 20th Century the ADA started it’s philanthropic work by centralizing resources to respond to disasters.  It also began to engage consumers about the role of oral health.  By the time of the Great Depression, the ADA had more than 36,000 members, representing about half of U.S. dentists.  ADA membership grew after World War II and the ADA became the standard resource for everything dental-related.   The ADA offers objective, peer-reviewed research. The ADA also highlights best practices to help consumers make the most informed decisions possible.

What does the ADA do for you?

Do you ever wonder if a dentist has a bias?  Do you like to do your own research?  Are you ever curious what another person’s opinion is or where a dentist may have gotten an idea?  The ADA is your one-stop resource.  The ADA advocates legislatures for dentists and patients.  The ADA played a role in the Affordable Care Act. The ADA also defends dentists and patients.  Everybody in the dental chain needs a voice and the ADA is that voice for you, your dentist, and their team.

The ADA also runs a series of publications available to the public about oral care.  The ADA takes great pride in publishing the best research so everyone has access to scientific data, new theories, and practices. 

Finally, the ADA is  involved in numerous public programs.  Are you curious about the current situation with fluorine in the water?  Go to www.ada.org.  Have you ever wondered what’s available to people who can’t afford standard dental care?  The ADA is responsible for Community Dental Health Coordinators who help under-served communities.  If you’ve ever wondered who’s responsible for oral care becoming a habit among adults?  The ADAs efforts with children can’t be overstated.

If you have an oral health concern, talk with your dentist but use this resource.  The information is sound science.  The contributors and members care about your health and the health of the dental industry.  In an age where it seems like everyone’s got an opinion, the ADA is a place to get the facts.

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