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Oral Health Subcommittee
As stated in the Surgeon General’s report Oral Health in America*, “oral health means much more than healthy teeth”. It means being free of chronic oral-facial pain, oral and pharyngeal (throat) cancers, oral soft tissue lesions, cleft lip or other birth defects, oral injuries due to sports-related trauma or other abuse, and scores of other diseases and disorders that affect the oral, dental, and craniofacial tissues. Not only does this area of the body provide protection against microbial infections, but allows us to taste, speak, smile and express many of our emotions to others. As such, oral health is an essential part of a person’s general health and well-being, and good oral health is an integral part of a healthy community.
To provide a forum for epidemiologists working in areas related to oral health, CSTE established the Oral Health Subcommittee with the broad mission of supporting effective oral health surveillance and epidemiology. The strategic goal of the Oral Health Subcommittee is to utilize epidemiologic tools and resources to improve the public’s oral health. Despite most Americans placing a high priority on oral health, not all are achieving it to the same extent and certain groups are disproportionately affected by oral disease. A major objective of the oral health subcommittee is to promote the use of epidemiologic data to reduce disparities by race, age, geography and income to improve oral health.
The Oral Health Subcommittee’s work encompasses a range of topics including: epidemiology capacity building; advocating for oral health resources and evidence-based policy; and developing tools and resources that strengthen and guide oral health epidemiology.
Potential projects to be examined in the upcoming year(s) include:
  • Developing trainings to address gaps in oral health capacity
  • Revising and updating position statement regarding national oral health surveillance
  • Analyzing available oral health data for health disparities
  • Examining the potential of previously untapped systems (e.g., Biosense) for oral health surveillance and develop guidelines for how states might use them.
Previous work done by CSTE include:
  • Assessing oral health epidemiology capacity at the state-level through the 2013 National Epidemiology Capacity Assessment Oral Health Module (2013)
  • Working with ASTDD to develop a conceptual framework and operation definition of State-Based Oral Health Surveillance Systems (2013)
  • Writing position statements supporting the development and adoption of indicators for national oral health surveillance (2012, 1999)
If you are interested in learning more about the oral health subcommittee, contact Annie Tran.
*David Satcher. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. In: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, editor. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health. 2000.
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