The Louisiana Department of Health, Office of Public Health’s Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Bureau, Well-Ahead Louisiana (WAL) Oral Health Promotion (OHP) proposes to improve access to and utilization of available population-based oral health services that remain to be an increasingly importance due to dental provider shortages coupled with poor access to oral health care. The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) has instituted and sustained a strong integrated chronic disease prevention, health promotion, oral disease prevention, and tobacco control program through Well-Ahead Louisiana (WAL). Of the six priority areas of the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the Healthy Smiles priority area is dedicated to promoting oral health through education and expanded access to preventive oral health services. The WAL Oral Health Promotion program (WAL-OHP) has made progress in recent years towards the improvement of oral health among Louisiana residents through the support of a robust statewide oral health coalition and other stakeholders and partners.
The proposed project “Louisiana Strategies to Improve Oral Health Prevention and Access to Care” will implement successful approaches to advance access, programs and partnerships for school sealant programs and community water fluoridation.
The project will implement effective intervention approaches to decrease oral health disparities and barriers to accessing oral health care that leads to increased incidence of dental caries and other chronic disease occurrences associated with poor oral health.
The outcomes of the WAL-OHP as the result of the project are: increased number of school sealant programs, increased number of students receiving sealants through school sealant programs, increased awareness and improved perception of water fluoridation benefits, increased number of eligible public water systems adjusting for fluoride, increased number of communities receiving optimally fluoridated water, a well-developed oral health surveillance system that effectively measures oral disease, risk factors, the use of preventive oral health services, and reports the disease burden outcomes of poor oral health and other chronic diseases.
The project will also examine the efficacy of the intended objectives and outcomes and the degree to which changes in the outcome measures have attributed to the overall program strategies and activities for achieving long-term outcome measures.