CDC’s Division of Oral Health (DOH) provides leadership to improve the nation’s oral health. We promote proven interventions, such as community water fluoridation and dental sealants, to reduce the rate of cavities, especially for populations at highest risk. DOH supports state, territorial, and tribal oral health programs, collects surveillance data on oral diseases, and develops and promotes adherence to infection prevention and control guidelines for dental health care personnel. The division supports integration of medical and dental care to address other chronic diseases associated with poor oral health. DOH also has a residency training program to help strengthen the dental public health workforce.
A nation where all people enjoy good oral health that contributes to leading healthy, satisfying lives.
To prevent and control oral diseases and conditions by building the knowledge, tools, and networks that promote healthy behaviors and effective public health practices and programs.
CDC’s Division of Oral Health works to improve the oral health of the nation and reduce inequalities in oral health by:
- Helping states and territories improve their oral health programs with funding, technical assistance, and training.
- Extending the use of proven strategies to prevent oral disease by:
- Encouraging the effective use of fluoride products and community water fluoridation to benefit all members of the community, regardless of age, education, or income.
- Promoting greater use of school dental sealant programs targeted toward schools with children less likely to receive private dental care.
- Supporting the integration of medicine and dentistry to increase access to care and improve care coordination for chronic diseases associated with poor oral health.
- Supporting national data collection through public health surveillance systems and funding state health departments to collect state and local data on oral disease burden, and providing data to researchers and the public.
- Contributing to the scientific knowledge regarding oral health and disease with surveillance reports and journal articles.
- Serving as the national leader in infection prevention and control for the dental community, creating guidelines as well as trainings and resources to increase infection prevention and control adherence.
- Strengthening the workforce with the only federal dental public health specialty residency training program.
Congressional Authorizing Language
Congress passed certain laws giving the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of the people of the United States. The HHS Secretary delegated this authority to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and operations are carried out by the Division of Oral Health.
- DOH may make grants to states, Indian tribes, and rural water systems to increase resources available for community water fluoridation; provide funds for the development of school dental sealant programs to improve children’s access; and enter into cooperative agreements to establish oral health infrastructure to improve oral health in states, territories, and Indian tribes or tribal organizations.
- DOH has the authority to establish a 5-year national, public education campaign that is focused on oral health education, including prevention of oral disease and cavities, periodontal disease, and oral cancer.
Page last reviewed: June 8, 2021