Oral Health

Oral health is vital to the health and well-being of pregnant women, children, adolescents, young adults, and families. Common problems include tooth decay (dental caries or cavities), and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).  These are preventable with routine oral health care, early detection, proper diet, and appropriate management.

Our work in this area

To improve oral health, we want to:

  • Increase access to preventive services
  • Foster an integrated workforce
  • Achieve health equity

To achieve oral health equity, we need to:

  • Integrate oral health within the rest of the health care system
  • Provide culturally sensitive and cost-effective preventive care
  • Empower communities and people to follow recommendations for good oral health and overall health

Program investments

At the state and local levels, MCHB invests in three primary strategies:

  1. Test promising models for the integration of oral health into primary care and safety-net settings. Safety-net settings are clinical settings for people with limited or no access to health care due to their financial circumstances, insurance status, or health condition 
  2. Provide tailored assistance to stakeholders so that they can promote access to and use of preventive oral health services
  3. Develop and share new and reliable resources and guidance for administrators, health professionals, educators, and policymakers

These strategies:

  • Identify gaps and barriers within a state’s system of services to integrate preventive oral health care
  • Support quality improvements in the systems of services
  • Raise awareness, knowledge, and skills of stakeholders who can put theory into practice

Where can I find details about these funding opportunities?

Resources for awardees

Key publications

Contact us

Pamella Vodicka, MS, RD
CAPT, United States Public Health Service
Senior Public Health Analyst

Date Last Reviewed:  September 2021