- Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General (report) released
In 2000, Surgeon General David Satcher released Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Publication of this report marked a milestone in the history of oral health in America. The report elaborates on the meaning of oral health and explains why it is essential to general health and well-being.
The central message of this report is that oral health is essential to general health and well-being and that although all Americans can achieve oral health, all do not possess it. The report explains that in spite of the safe and effective means of maintaining oral health that have benefited the majority of Americans over the past half century, many still experience needless pain and suffering, complications that devastate overall health and well-being, and financial and social costs that diminish quality of life and burden society. The report posits that what amounts to “a silent epidemic” of oral diseases is affecting America’s most vulnerable citizens—children from families with low incomes, older adults, and many members of racial and ethnic minority groups.
The report finds that the American public lacks awareness of the importance of oral health and that there are significant oral health and overall health disparities between racial and socioeconomic groups.
Because of the report’s findings, the Surgeon General called for action to promote access to oral health care for all Americans, especially children from families with low incomes and from minority groups, who were found to be at greatest risk for severe medical complications resulting from inadequate oral health care and treatment.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2000. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
- The Face of a Child: Surgeon General’s Conference on Children and Oral Health held
The Face of a Child: Surgeon General’s Conference on Children and Oral Health, was held in Washington, DC, on March 19–21, 2000, in conjunction with the release of Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, to consider children’s oral health by highlighting findings of the Surgeon General’s report on oral health; increase appreciation for the importance of oral health to overall health and well-being; increase appreciation for the need to integrate oral health into policy, research, professional training, and medical care for children; engage the child health and welfare community and the public in a discussion of the ethical, legal historical, and policy issues relevant to children’s health; and promote effective partnerships and community collaborations to eliminate disparities in children’s oral health and access to care.
Recommendations from the conference included (1) start early, emphasize prevention, and involve parents; (2) ensure a sufficient work force and public health capacity; (3) revamp health professional and health education; (4) integrate and innovate in-service delivery; (5) expand the knowledge base and transfer science; (6) develop strategic communication plans, and (7) align policy with the knowledge base and children’s needs.
U.S. Surgeon General. 2000. The Face of a Child: Surgeon General’s Workshop and Conference on Children and Oral Health—Proceedings (Draft).
Reproduced with permission from the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors.
- Partnership for State Oral Health Leadership established
The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) established the Partnership for State Oral Health Leadership through a cooperative agreement to the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) to promote improved oral health for the maternal and child health population through increased access to oral-disease-prevention methods and oral health services by (1) enhancing state and local programs’ capacity and infrastructure and (2) enhancing communication networks to facilitate the transfer of science into practice and to promote best practices.
From 2000 to 2012, ASTDD collaborated with numerous organizations to initiate joint projects that address the core functions of oral health needs assessment, policy development, and assurance. With the federal funding, ASTDD provided support and technical assistance for state dental access summits, Head Start oral health forums and follow-up activities, and children with special health care needs oral health forums and follow-up activities.
Reproduced with permission from the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center.
- National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center established
The Maternal and Child Health Bureau established the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center through a cooperative agreement to provide analysis of access to oral health care and identify ways to better integrate oral health services with other health services.
From 2003 to 2012, the policy center provided information and support (e.g., publications, consultation, technical assistance) for national, state, and local maternal and child health (MCH) programs and has developed policy that advances oral health for the MCH population.
Working in Partnership: Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Oral Health Programmatic Activities [manuscript].