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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
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Maternal and Child Health

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National & State Surveillance Efforts to Monitor Oral Health Disparities in Children

Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET

Overview | Presenter Information | Agenda | Resources | Archive

Overview

Dental caries remains the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood in the United States, often resulting in substantial medical and financial consequences. Although significant improvements in children’s oral health and dental care access have occurred among school-aged children in the last few decades, during this same period, the reported caries prevalence has increased among preschool children and oral health and dental care access disparities remain across population groups.

This DataSpeak Web conference for maternal and child health professionals, researchers, and program planners will provide an overview of recent data on children’s oral health based on selected national- and state-level surveillance efforts. Our first speaker is a professor of dentistry and health policy at Columbia University and Board Chair of the Children’s Dental Health Project. He will present findings from national data sources on the oral health status of American children and trends in their use and access to dental health care. He will present data analyses that identify oral health needs and access to care issues for children by race, income, age, and for children with special needs. He will also discuss the strengths and limitations of available national-level data sources on children’s oral health and highlight the policy implications of the available data. Our second and third presenters are from New York State and Ohio, where they lead the oral health surveillance and research efforts for their respective state health departments. These state experts will provide an overview of their children’s oral health surveillance efforts, present the recent findings from these efforts, and explain how they are using the data to look at disparities across subgroups and promote improved children’s oral health planning. They will also discuss resulting changes in state policy; current challenges and opportunities in the field; and the importance of dissemination of the data in a usable format to a wide range of stakeholders, including local health agencies, professionals, and the public.