Barriers to achieving good oral and overall health do not stop with access to care. Systemic racism exists within healthcare, is linked to several social determinants of health, and contributes to racial inequities in oral health. Multi-level interventions that focuses on system change to advance racial equity can improve population-level health. This report highlights several…

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School-based health programs provide health services, like oral health, to students in schools. Schools were closed and students learned virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, disrupting school-based health programs and impacting the care children received. This study surveyed public elementary schools in Virginia to understand the impact the pandemic had on school-based health programs and what…

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Community Health Workers (CHWs) are public health workers with unique understanding of the experience, language, and culture of the populations they serve to promote healthy living and to help people take greater control over their health and lives. They are trained to work in a variety of community settings to provide culturally appropriate health education,…

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Messaging about the benefits, importance, and safety of community water fluoridation (CWF) vary. This study analyzed what kinds of messages effectively influenced support for CWF. Researchers found that focusing on oral health benefits, health equity, and the safety of CWF in messages significantly predicted support. What next? Policy: Require these focused messages on communications from local systems…

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Children at high-risk for cavities in this Australian study avoided hospitalizations for dental issues when they participated in a treatment regimen that included silver diamine fluoride (SDF) and other preventive measures. The children, and their families, also reported improved oral health related quality of life after this treatment. SDF is a safe, minimally invasive, and low-cost tool…

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This report outlines what we’ve learned since the 2000 Surgeon General’s Oral Health Report. It describes the improvements we’ve made as a nation in improving oral health at a population level, and also outlines disparities and inequities in access and affordability of care that still need to be addressed. What next? Policy: Local, state, and…

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Cancers caused by the humanpapilloma virus (HPV) on the tongue, tonsils, mouth, and throat are rising in the US, particularly among males. The HPV vaccine, usually given to adolescents, is effective at preventing oral cancers caused by HPV. Dental professionals have an opportunity to educate patients and encourage the HPV vaccine to prevent these cancers.…

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Schools aren’t just a place for children to learn, they are a place that can address the health needs of Virginia students. In particular, school-based oral health programs can address the dental care gap many students face. What are school-based oral health programs? School-based oral health programs address multiple barriers to health care access and…

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Virginia Health Catalyst serves as a statewide convener and trusted advisor on oral health integration; we do not, however, provide direct care in communities. Because of this, we rely on our incredible partners across the state to lift up “boots on the ground” issues like challenges at the clinic, barriers to accessing care, and policy…

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