Michigan Oral Health Coalition
State Oral Health Plan
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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
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.

Community Water Fluoridation

Facts

  • 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.

Resources Available
Fact Sheets
The Power of Fluoride
Fluoride Legislative User Information Database
My Water's Fluoride
"Keep on Smiling" Podcast
Fluoridation Facts by the American Dental Association

Dental Sealants

Facts

  • 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. has 52%.
  • Based on current evidence, the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) strongly recommends, greater use of sealants by practitioners in private and public health practice. 
  • 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.”

Resources Available
Fact Sheets
Resource Guide
Parents' Guide to Dental Sealants
"Tooth IQ" YouTube Video