Oral Health Now Among Leading Health Indicators

On Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its list of Leading Health Indicators (LHI) for Healthy People 2020 which, for the first time, now includes oral health.  Healthy People, which is in its fourth iteration, provides a 10 year plan for improving the health of all Americans. In addition to establishing objectives and measurable health outcomes, the Healthy People program strives to encourage public/private partnerships to improve individual and population health with a particular focus on prevention activities.

While oral health is integral to overall health, it has long been ignored as a national priority despite the fact that tooth decay is the number one chronic condition among children and not only has long-lasting impacts on systemic health but also impedes social development, learning, and employability later in life.

Placing an oral health measure among the 12 LHI's identifies oral health as a high-priority health issue for both communication and action.  Children's Dental Health Project joined a number of other organizations in a coalition effort to encourage HHS to include oral health as a priority and we look forward to working closely with HHS and other partners in improving the health of all Americans and eliminating preventable conditions like childhood tooth decay. For more information on oral health as part of Healthy People 2020, click here.

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children ages 6-12 suffered a toothache in the previous six months.
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