A new report exploring America’s oral health over the last 20 years includes noteworthy contributions from 15 current and former Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) faculty members.
“Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges” is a sweeping effort to tell the whole story of the state of oral health in America. Widely considered the most comprehensive evaluation of oral health currently available in the U.S., the report shows that oral health plays a central role in overall health.
Facilitated by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), along with hundreds of leading dental experts, the report is only the second comprehensive document on this topic and the first in more than 20 years. Following-up on “Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General,” published in 2000, the new report provides guidelines on how to improve the nation’s oral health.
The 790-page report draws primarily on information from public research and evidence-based practices to include six sections: the effects of overall oral health on individuals, communities, and the economy; oral health across lifespans; oral health workforce and practice; relationships between mental health and oral health; and emerging science and technology to transform oral health.
In addition to major takeaways from the report, the authors added numerous calls to action, which include changes to policy to improve the nation’s oral health, the need for health care professionals to work together to provide integrated care for the community, and developing a more diverse oral health care workforce.
William Giannobile, dean of HSDM, and Israel Agaku, lecturer on Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology, served as editors for sections of the report.
Other contributing authors from HSDM included:
Jane R. Barrow, director for Global and Community Health; Steffany Chamut, instructor in the Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology; John D. Da Silva, associate professor of Restorative Dentistry and Biomaterials Science and associate dean for faculty affairs and development; R. Bruce Donoff, dean emeritus and Walter C. Guralnick Distinguished Professor of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery; Chester Douglas, professor emeritus of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology; German O. Gallucci, Raymond J. and Elva Pomfret Nagle Associate Professor and chair of Restorative Dentistry and Biomaterials Science; Man Wai Ng, associate professor of Developmental Biology; Christine Riedy, chair and associate professor of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology; Brittany Seymour, associate professor of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology; Lisa Simon, fellow in Oral Health and Medicine Integration; Nathaniel S. Treister, associate professor of Oral Medicine; Constantine Ilias Vardavas, lecturer on Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology; and Alessandro Villa, lecturer on Oral Medicine, Infection, and Immunity.
The report will be used by health professionals and scientists to identify areas of need and develop programs to improve the oral health of America.