The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Missouri Office of Dental Health (ODH) provides a broad range of core public health services in oral health, including conducting oral health surveillance, addressing community water fluoridation, and operating an education and fluoride varnish program for children, known as the Preventive Services Program.
ODH is requesting funding to address all four strategies under Components 1 and 2 of State Actions to Improve Oral Health Outcomes. ODH will 1) expand existing dental sealant services in partnership with federally qualified health centers and other providers serving disparate populations and through teledentistry; 2) maintain existing CWF efforts and expand CWF to new communities; 3) conduct oral health surveillance, and 4) facilitate medical-dental integration. These strategies will be put in place to decrease dental caries, oral health disparities, facilitate integration of oral health and primary care, and improve surveillance. ODH will also improve monitoring and reporting capabilities by enhancing evaluation capacity.
There are multiple target populations for this project. For the school sealants expansion, the target population is students in grades 2 through 6, in schools with more than 50% free and reduced lunch participation. For the CWF strategy, individuals served by non-fluoridated community water systems will be the target population. Other general populations of interest include other oral health stakeholders, internal divisions within the Department of Health and Senior Services, local and state decision-makers, and water systems personnel.
The expected outcomes include 1) an increase in schools participating in the dental sealant program, 2) an increase in dental sealants among 3rd grade children, 3) a reduction in dental caries experience and untreated tooth decay, 4) an increase in number of fluoridated community water systems and adjusted water systems that maintain optimal fluoridation levels, 5) an increase in facilities with integrated oral health and primary care, and 6) improved surveillance and evaluation capabilities.
The project will be administered by the State Dental Director, who will have primary oversight of the project, which specifically addresses goals of the 2015-2020 Missouri Oral Health Plan, including assessing oral health status, needs, determinants, and disparities. The State Dental Director plays a vital role in assessing capacity and distribution of the oral health workforce; providing leadership to address oral health-related issues; supporting partnerships that address oral health needs; supporting school-based oral disease prevention and education programs; collaborating with programs that outreach to low-income children; supporting programs that serve older adults and individuals in long-term care facilities; and supporting efforts to improve access to dental care, among others.