The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that seven states will receive a total of $1.4 million to strengthen their oral health programs and reduce inequalities in the oral health of their residents. Included are Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Texas.
"These awards will help these states to develop and implement proven preventive measures to improve the oral health of their residents," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. "Achieving good oral health is more than just having strong teeth, it's a vital link to our overall good health," Thompson said.
States will receive between $118,557 to $351,758 this year, with the awards renewable for up to five years. For all states, the funding is designed to improve basic state oral health services, including support for program leadership and adding additional staff, monitoring oral health risk factors, and developing and evaluating prevention programs. Oregon and South Carolina qualified for additional funds this year to develop and coordinate school-based dental sealant and community water fluoridation programs, respectively.
Five other states?Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, and New York and the territory of Palau?received similar five-year awards in 2001 to enhance their state oral health programs.
"The states receiving these awards will be able to address significant problems in the oral health of their citizens," said William R. Maas, DDS, MPH, director of CDC's oral health program. "For instance, Alaska will be able to reduce the high rate of early childhood tooth decay in children of Alaska Natives, Colorado can develop a program to reduce the high rate of spit tobacco use among adolescents in their state, and more Oregonians will gain access to fluoridated water, a proven preventative for tooth decay."
"The support CDC is providing to these states will allow them to educate their residents on the importance of oral health, establish oral health coalitions and other partnerships, develop state oral health plans, and monitor whether their states' oral health objectives are being met. As a result, these states will be able to better target new activities aimed at preventing oral disease in children and adults," Maas said.
The CDC oral health program seeks to improve the oral health of communities by extending the use of proven strategies to prevent oral diseases, enhancing monitoring of oral diseases, strengthening the nation's oral health capacity, and guiding infection control in dentistry.