Public Health Resources

Dental Public Health



More States Adopt Laws to Boost Oral Health Care Workforces   - Six states have passed laws in the past 12 months authorizing dental therapists to practice in a role similar to physician assistants in medicine. The addition of Connecticut, Idaho, Nevada, and New Mexico in 2019—along with Arizona and Michigan in 2018—brings to 12 the number of states that allow dental therapy in some capacity. (Pew Charitable Trusts)


A tale of two public dental benefit programs: Iowa dentist participation in traditional Medicaid versus a Medicaid expansion program   - In Iowa from 2014 to 2017, there were 2 separate public dental benefit programs for Medicaid-enrolled adults: one for the Medicaid expansion population called the Dental Wellness Plan (DWP), and one for the traditional, non-expansion adult Medicaid population. The programs differed with respect to reimbursement, administration, and benefit structure. This study explored differences in patterns and predictors of dentist participation in the two programs. (BioMed Central)


Improving Access to Oral Healthcare: A Snapshot of State Initiatives   - There are a number of states pursuing strategies to improve oral health outcomes, such as primary care and dental care integration, workforce innovations, and care delivery innovations. Several states are exploring ways to improve access to oral health services in their jurisdictions, methods that have either been enacted or introduced in the current legislative session. (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO))


Consumer Survey of Barriers to and Facilitators of Access to Oral Health Services (March 2019)   - Study describes the extent to which adults in the US were unable to obtain necessary oral health care in the past year, the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of population groups that experienced a lack of access to oral health care services, the most critical access barriers to oral health services, and unique access barriers for different underserved population groups. (Center for Health Workforce Studies)



FDA In Brief: FDA proposes updated standards for fluoride added to bottled water to maximize health benefits while avoiding excess exposure   - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today released a proposed rule, “Proposed Rule to Revise the Allowable Level of Fluoride in Bottled Water to which Fluoride Has Been Added,” to lower the allowable level of fluoride in bottled water to which fluoride is added by the manufacturer to 0.7 mg/L to be consistent with the 2015 recommendation by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) for community water systems that add fluoride for the prevention of dental caries. (U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), HHS)






National Children’s Dental Health Month: Resources for Local Health Departments   - February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), a month-long national health observance to promote the oral health of children and families. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) joins the month’s sponsor, the American Dental Association, in providing resources for local health departments and health professionals to use and share. (National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO))



Efforts to Expand Access to Oral Health Care to Continue in 2019   - In 2019, many states are likely to continue efforts to expand access to dental care to more of their residents through multiple approaches, including extending dental coverage to those newly eligible for Medicaid and making greater use of dental therapists. (Pew Charitable Trusts)



Integration of Oral Health and Primary Care: Communication, Coordination and Referral   - This discussion paper focuses on some particularly challenging aspects of bridging primary care and oral health care for low health literacy populations. Because of the lack of physical proximity between most dental and medical practices, even in some co-located places, many patients and providers have difficulty navigating this divide. (National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM))




To Improve Health Disparities, Focus on Oral Health   - A team from our Clinical Scholars program believes that addressing oral health disparities can improve overall health and well-being, and help end cycles of poverty. They are bringing oral health to the community through school clinics, an app and an oral health protocol development for nurses, physicians, dentists and dental hygienists. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF))


Notice To Announce Commission of a Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health   - The U.S. Public Health Service's Oral Health Coordinating Committee announces the commission of a Surgeon General's Report presenting prominent issues affecting oral health. The report will document progress in oral health in the twenty years since the 2000 Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health, identify existing knowledge gaps, and articulate a vision for the future. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS))


Dentists Play Vital Role in Addressing Opioid Crisis   - A commentary by the directors of the NIDCR and NIDA notes that dentists can play a vital role in helping to address the nation's opioid crisis. The coauthors outline NIH-funded research and initiatives that aim to inform clinical decision making related to opioid prescribing. (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), NIH)



American Association for Community Dental Programs   - AACDP supports the efforts of those with an interest in serving the oral health needs of vulnerable populations at the community level. Members include staff of city, county, and community-based health programs with an interest in oral health issues and access to care.

American Association of Public Health Dentistry   - Founded in 1937, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD) provides a focus for meeting the challenge to improve oral health. AAPHD membership is open to all individuals concerned with improving the oral health of the public.

American Dental Association (ADA)   - The not-for-profit American Dental Association is the nation's largest dental association that works to advance the dental profession on the national, state and local level. The ADA is committed to its members and to the improvement of oral health for the public. (American Dental Association)

HRSA: Oral Health   - HRSA works to improve the oral health of underserved people by exploring ways to improve access to oral health care, increase awareness of the connection between oral health and overall health, promote prevention, and improve oral health literacy to health providers and patients alike. (Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HHS)

Hispanic Dental Association   - The Hispanic Dental Association is the only national organization of dental professionals dedicated to promoting and improving the oral health of the Hispanic community and providing advocacy for Hispanic oral health professionals across the United States.

IHS Dental Portal   - The purpose of the Dental Portal is to have one place where staff who work in Indian healthcare can locate essential resources to support to the operation of effective clinical and community dental programs. (Indian Health Service (IHS))

NRHA National Rural Oral Health Initiative   - The National Rural Oral Health Initiative is the combined effort of the National Rural Health Association and the DentaQuest Foundation to improve oral health disparities in rural America through policy, communications, education and research. (National Rural Health Association (NRHA))

National Dental Association   - The mission of the National Dental Association is to represent the concerns of ethnic minorities in dentistry, to elevate the global oral health concerns of underserved communities, to enhance educational and financial opportunities, and public policy awareness, for its members, and to recruit underrepresented minorities into the profession through advocacy and mentorship.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)   - The mission of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is to improve oral, dental and craniofacial health through research, research training, and the dissemination of health information. (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), NIH)

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center   - The purpose of the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center (OHRC) is to respond to the needs of states and communities in addressing current and emerging public oral health issues. OHRC supports health professionals, program administrators, educators, policymakers, and others with the goal of improving oral health services for infants, children, adolescents, and their families. The resource center collaborates with federal, state, and local agencies; national and state organizations and associations; and foundations to gather, develop, and share quality and valued information and materials.

National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA)   - NNOHA's mission is to improve the oral health of underserved populations and contribute to overall health through leadership, advocacy, and support to oral health providers in safety-net systems.

Oral Health Workforce Research Center (OHWRC)   - OHWRC is based at the Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) at the School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York. OHWRC provides timely, accurate data and conducts policy relevant research to assist in future health workforce planning. (State University of New York, University at Albany, School of Public Health)

Public Health Foundation (PHF)   - Dedicated to achieving healthy communities through research, training, and technical assistance. For more than 35 years, this national, non-profit organization has been creating new information and helping health agencies and other community health organizations connect to and more effectively use information to manage and improve performance, understand and use data, and strengthen the workforce.

Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)   - The Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE) is an independent, international professional association made up of a diverse membership of health education professionals and students. The Society promotes healthy behaviors, healthy communities, and healthy environments through its membership, its network of local chapters, and its numerous partnerships with other organizations.

Tribal Oral Health Initiative   - Initiative to explore solutions and develop recommendations to address oral health disparities and lack of access to oral health treatment and prevention services in Indian Country. (National Indian Health Board)

Dental Public Health Listserv   - Email list to facilitate discussion of issues relating to Public Health as it relates to dental issues. The list is limited to public health professionals and policy makers interested in dental issues. This list is not affiliated with any professional organization or group. (University of Pittsburgh)

    • + Continuing Education Programs
      • State Oral Health Leadership Institute SOHLI is a 12-month professional development program that provides Medicaid dental program directors and state oral health program directors - working in collaboration - with the necessary leadership skills and policy knowledge to improve access to dental services and oral health outcomes for low-income children and adults.
      • TRAIN Learning Network TRAIN is a national learning network that provides quality training opportunities for professionals who protect and improve the public’s health. A free service powered by the Public Health Foundation (PHF), the TRAIN Learning Network brings together agencies and organizations in the public health, healthcare, and preparedness sectors to disseminate, track, and share trainings for the health workforce on a centralized training platform.

Oral Health Information Tutorial   - This tutorial focuses on improving access to and awareness of reliable information resources, as well as integrating the best evidence from these resources into public health dental practice and educational activities. (University of Texas, Health Science Center at San Antonio)

Smiles for Life Oral Health Curriculum   - The Smiles for Life curriculum consists of eight 45-minute modules covering core areas of oral health relevant to health professionals, including child oral health, adult oral health, pregnancy, and geriatric oral health. (Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM))

Community Response Fund   - DentaQuest's Community Response Fund supports small, one-time grants that address access to oral health care. (DentaQuest Institute)

Dental Reimbursement Program   - The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part F Dental Reimbursement Program (DRP) improves access to oral health care services for low-income, uninsured and underserved people living with HIV (PLWH) and trains dental and hygiene students and dental residents to deliver dental care to PLWH. The DRP accomplishes this by defraying a portion of unreimbursed dental care costs for low-income, uninsured, and underserved PLWH incurred by accredited dental or dental hygiene education programs recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. (Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HHS)

Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Open Opportunities   - Comprising six bureaus and 12 offices, HRSA provides leadership and financial support to health care providers in every state and U.S. territory. HRSA grantees provide health care to uninsured people, people living with HIV/AIDS, and pregnant women, mothers and children. They train health professionals and improve systems of care in rural communities. (Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HHS)

Bright Futures Toolbox   - This toolbox highlights materials that advance the Bright Futures philosophy of promoting and improving the oral health of infants, children, and adolescents. (National Maternal and Child Health Oral Health Resource Center)

Community Water Fluoridation Communications Toolkit   - NACCHO's new Community Water Fluoridation Communications Toolkit has resources to help local health departments and other organizations educate and inform their communities about the benefits of fluoridation. (National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO))

Dental Devices   - This site includes FDA's public health notifications, advice for patients, and related consumer health information on dental devices. (U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), HHS)

Mouth Healthy   - A consumer site from the American Dental Association with information on habits, concerns, and nutrition for all life stages. (American Dental Association)

My Water's Flouride   - My Water's Fluoride (MWF) allows consumers to learn about the fluoride level in their drinking water. Also, you can find out the number of people served by the system and the water source. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS)

SmileConnect   - An online portal to connect children in need to available health resources. (Altarum Institute)

The Oral Health Website   - Website aims to help communities, governments, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and private businesses start or enhance community-based oral health programs for older adults. Site includes a searchable database of community-based oral health programs and an oral health guide: The Community Guide to Adult Oral Health Program Implementation. (Administration for Community Living (ACL), HHS)   - Consumer dental and oral health information can be found on, a site by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) and its health information referral service, the National Health Information Center.

ADA Health Policy Institute   - The Health Policy Institute (HPI) aims to be a thought leader and trusted source for critical policy knowledge related to the U.S. dental care system. HPI achieves this by generating, synthesizing, and disseminating innovative research on a variety of topics that are relevant to policy makers, health care advocates, and providers within the U.S. dental care system. (American Dental Association)

ASTDD Dental Public Health Resources Committee   - ASTDD works with a broad array of federal, state and local public and private partners to educate decision-makers on dental public health issues and concerns of state oral health programs. ASTDD policy documents include issue briefs, position papers, policy statements and resolutions to reflect the Association's priorities and stance on dental public health issues. (Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors)

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry   - The mission of the AAPD is to advocate policies, guidelines and programs that promote optimal oral health and oral health care for children. The AAPD serves and represents its membership in the areas of professional development and governmental and legislative activities.

H.R.2422 - Action for Dental Health Act of 2018   - Legislation that allows HHS to award grants or enter into contracts to collaborate with state, county, or local public officials and other stakeholders to develop and implement initiatives to: (1) improve oral health education and dental disease prevention; (2) reduce geographic barriers, language barriers, cultural barriers, and other similar barriers in the provision of dental services; (3) establish dental homes for children and adults; (4) reduce the use of emergency departments by individuals who seek dental services more appropriately delivered in a dental primary care setting; or (5) facilitate the provision of dental care to nursing home residents. (U.S. House of Representatives)

NASHP Oral Health Resources   - Resources including briefs, toolkits, reports, and case studies that explore innovative strategies that states have developed to address access to oral health services. (National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP))

National Center for Fluoridation   - NCF was created to provide information within that network of scientists, educators, public officials, organizational representatives, and media concerned about the availability of reliable, timely, and scientifically-based information about community water fluoridation.

National Conference of State Legislatures: Children's Oral Health   - The National Conference of State Legislatures was founded in 1975 with the conviction that legislative service is one of democracy's worthiest pursuits. NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues.

Preventing Tooth Decay   - Strategies and policies to prevent tooth decay. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS)

    • + Journals
      • ADA News News from the American Dental Association.

Addressing Oral Health in Health Policy   - Pre-recorded presentation from January 2017 describes how oral health should be integrated into health policy decision-making and research, how oral health issues are addressed in federal/state policies, and what challenges, methods, and best practices will most improve access to oral health care. (AcademyHealth)

American Association for Community Dental Programs - annual symposium   - The annual symposium is held as a pre-conference session to the National Oral Health Conference. The National Oral Health Conference is sponsored by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

National Oral Health Conference   - The National Oral Health Conference is sponsored by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors)

National Oral Health Surveillance System (NOHSS)   - NOHSS is a collaborative effort between CDC's Division of Oral Health and the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD). It is designed to monitor the use of dental health care, oral disease, and the status of community water fluoridation.

Oral Health Data   - The Oral Health Data website contains data for indicators from the National Oral Health Surveillance System (NOHSS), Water Fluoridation Statistics biennial reports, and the annual Synopses of State Oral Health Programs. National and state-level data are provided for all indicators. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS)