The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that 21 states have received a total of $6.2 million in grant awards designed to improve the oral health of state residents.
Under the “State Oral Disease Prevention Program,” states will build their abilities to monitor oral disease levels and risk factors for oral disease, develop strong partnerships and expand effective programs to prevent oral diseases, in particular, tooth decay.
“With CDC support, the states receiving these awards will be better able to target and expand activities aimed at preventing oral diseases among individuals, families and communities,” states RADM William Bailey, D.D.S., M.P.H., Acting Director, CDC Division of Oral Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Three states—Hawaii, Idaho and New Hampshire—have been funded by CDC for the first time to strengthen their oral health programs. These states will receive $230,000 per year to implement basic activities such as developing an oral health surveillance plan, developing a state oral health plan, strengthening partnerships and establishing a diverse state oral health coalition and implementing communication strategies to promote oral disease prevention.
Eighteen states with more advanced oral health programs have received grants averaging $310,000 to conduct additional activities, such as increasing delivery of dental sealants for children in low-income and/or rural schools, increasing the percentage of low-income children and adolescents who receive a preventive dental service, increasing the percentage of state residents who use the dental care system and increasing the proportion of the population with access to fluoridated water. These states are Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The state grants are renewable for up to five years.
“Several states with more advanced programs are seeking to expand integration of medical and dental services in order to assure that children at risk for dental disease and their families receive preventive dental services,” says Dr. Bailey. “For example, Iowa will be working to improve medical provider participation in providing preventive oral health services to children; Maryland aims to increase the number of children and pregnant women who receive an oral health service by a non-dental provider through a new collaborative health systems initiative; and Vermont will improve linkages to community health workers to prevent oral diseases in low-income families.”
The CDC oral health program seeks to improve the oral health of the nation by strengthening the capacity of states to monitor the presence of oral diseases and extend the use of proven prevention strategies, such as water fluoridation and dental sealants. For more information on oral health, visit the CDC website.