Integrating oral health into other care settings

By the CDHP team

The following guest blog post is from Sarah Bedard Holland, executive director of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition.

Integrating oral health into all aspects of health care can expand access to oral health services, enhance comprehensive health care and improve patient wellness.  Health providers from multiple disciplines can deliver oral health services, education and referrals in most care settings, and dental providers can offer similar clinical services.  In many instances, these services are reimbursable.  In all instances, they support collaborative care and whole-body health.

I’m pleased to announce that the Virginia Oral Health Coalition (VaOHC) has put together a new resource for health providers who are interested in oral health integration. The Integration Toolkit is hosted on our coalition’s website and is accessible from the homepage (

We believe this new toolkit can encourage and support more stakeholders in moving toward integration.

The Integration Toolkit is an online resource that walks you through key steps of integration, from identifying your patients’ major health care needs to analyzing financial models, and more.  The toolkit includes:

  • Sample oral health integration models;
  • Prompt questions to consider with your team;
  • An integration checklist; and
  • Many resources you can download and use today.

Prior to the toolkit’s official launch, VaOHC provided training to a pediatrician in Blacksburg, Va., who was interested in integrating oral health into child “well” visits. Even though the pediatric practice didn’t use the toolkit in its online form, this practice experienced an immediate benefit. One of the physicians told us, “The afternoon after the training, my resident and medical student made the diagnosis of severe early childhood caries and educated a mom about how to manage this and prevent further decay. The parent was grateful for the information, and the student and resident were very excited to apply their newly obtained knowledge!”

Our coalition developed the Integration Toolkit with grant funding from the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, in partnership with The Daily Planet and Community Health Solutions.  If you have questions or feedback about the toolkit, or to submit additional resources, please contact me at 804-269-8721 or

Integration of oral health into medical, behavioral health and other areas reflects this growing body of research connecting oral health problems with broader health conditions. We believe this new toolkit can encourage and support more stakeholders in moving toward integration.

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Did you know?

Children with poor oral health were nearly 3x more likely to miss school due to dental pain.
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