The Michigan Department of Community
Health recognized the need to develop a coordinated effort to improve
the oral health of Michigan’s residents and received a grant from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work toward this goal.
As a result, the Michigan Oral
Health Coalition has developed a comprehensive Oral Health Plan for
Michigan and members of the Coalition work daily to meet oral health
goals by addressing recommendations outlined in the plan.
In 2012, the Michigan Department of Community Health Oral
Health Program surveyed stakeholders that use the State Oral Health
Plan to provide a framework for implementing oral health-related
activities. Read the Report
which summarizes the responses to questions related to the usefulness
of oral health data and each of the 10 oral health goals contained in
the Plan. Download
State Oral Health Plan.
Prevention is crucial to improve and maintain oral health, as well as
overall health for infants, children, adolescents and adults.
Opportunities exist to expand prevention options including such public
health strategies as community water fluoridation, dental sealants,
oral health education and an array of other effective interventions.
- Fluoridation is widely considered to be among
the 10 best public health advances of the 20th century.
- Nearly 7 million Michigan residents are served
by community water systems with fluoride.
- Tooth decay is an infectious, communicable
disease and is almost entirely preventable.
- The cost of community water fluoridation (about
72 cents per person per year) is less than having one cavity treated
over a person’s lifetime.
- Water fluoridation reduces or eliminates
disparities in preventing dental caries among different socioeconomic,
racial and ethnic groups.
- Both the Environmental Protection Act and the
Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act set standards for the proper amount of
fluoride added to our community water supplies.
What Does This Mean to Me?
What happens if water fluoridation is
discontinued? Over time, dental decay can be expected to increase if
water fluoridation in a community is discontinued, even if topical
products such as fluoride toothpastes and fluoride rinses are used.
A U.S. study of 6- and 7-year-old children who had resided in
optimally fluoridated areas and then moved to the nonfluoridated
community of Coldwater, Michigan revealed an 11% increase in decayed,
missing or filled tooth surfaces over a 3-year period from the time the
children moved. These data reaffirm that relying only on topical forms
of fluoride is not an effective public health practice. Today,
Coldwater is a fluoridated community.
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Facts by the American Dental Association
- Only 23.3% of 3rd grade children in Michigan
had sealants present on first molar teeth, ranking Michigan in the
bottom quartile of the nation in lack of a dental sealant program.
- Frequent consumption of beverages or foods high
in sugar increases the risk for tooth decay. A 12-ounce can of soda
contains approximately 12 teaspoons of sugar.
- School-based dental sealant programs frequently
target schools in which at least 50 percent of students are eligible
for USDA's free and reduced-price meals.
- Michigan has 58% of children with caries
experience in their primary or permanent teeth, age 6-8, while the U.S.
- Based on current evidence, the American
Association for Dental Research (AADR) strongly recommends, greater use
of sealants by practitioners in private and public health
- Nearly one in ten 3rd grade children in
Michigan have immediate dental care needs with signs or symptoms of
pain, infection or swelling.
What Does This Mean to Me?
Who knew a clear plastic coating could do so much good? But for
hundreds of children at Michigan elementary schools, the provision of
dental sealants — or thin, plastic coatings painted on the
chewing surfaces of the back teeth — can go a long way in
preventing tooth decay. During the 2008-09 school year, 5,500 third and
sixth-grade students from 72 schools were screened, with 17,635
sealants applied to individual teeth. According to the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services, “If sealants were applied routinely
to susceptible tooth surfaces in conjunction with the appropriate use
of fluoride, most tooth decay in children could be prevented.”
Guide to Dental Sealants
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