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Oral Health Plans

The CDC calls the Oral Health Plan “a road map for accomplishing the goals and objectives that have been developed in collaboration with partners and stakeholders.” Oral health as a serious health issue first came into focus with the 2000 U.S. Surgeon General’s landmark report, Oral Health in America. That seminal report documented America’s oral “burden of disease” and presented evidence of a “silent epidemic” of dental and oral diseases. The report’s central message was that oral health is essential to general health and can be improved despite several significant barriers.

In 2002, Illinois used the Surgeon General’s report as a springboard to engage partners interested in improving oral health and was one of the first states to develop a state oral health plan.

Illinois Oral Health Plan IV: Eliminating Inequities in Oral Health represents a coordinated approach to lead oral health improvement, tackle barriers to health care, and begin to use a social determinants of health approach. With a five-year timeline, the success of the overall initiative can be realized by increasing the health knowledge of the public, expanding health promotion, strengthening primary prevention efforts, and improving access to services.

The Illinois Oral Health Surveillance Plan provides a strategic approach to the development and implementation of Illinois oral health surveillance system. The plan aligns with the Illinois Oral Health Plan IV: Eliminating Inequities in Oral Health (2021 – 2025) and Healthy People 2030 (HP2030) Oral Conditions Objectives.

The goal of the surveillance system is to monitor state-specific, population‐based oral disease burden and trends, measure changes in program capacity and community water fluoridation quality. This information is vital to assist organizations throughout the state to plan, to implement, and to evaluate appropriate interventions that will truly improve the oral health of Illinoisans.

Healthy People, Healthy Smiles: Assuring an Agenda for Action was Illinois’ third oral health plan (2012). It took a slightly different approach from past plans by modeling its framework after the Healthy People 2020 national oral health objectives, but comprehensively was still informed by the Surgeon General’s 2000 Call to Action. Healthy People, Healthy Smiles again provided a focus for action that resulted in several improvements.

Oral Health Care in Illinois, the Illinois Oral Health Plan II (2007) also followed the framework of the Surgeon General’s report, reviewing the state’s progress in addressing the original five‐year plan and making recommendations for the future. Oral Health Care in Illinois called for greater involvement of the medical provider community to help prevent oral disease.

Illinois’ first oral health plan, Roadmap to the Future: Oral Health in Illinois (2002), used the five action steps from the framework established in Oral Health in America as policy goals and included scores of priorities and recommendations for strategic interventions from a series of town hall meetings and a statewide summit. With the intent of building a culture of good oral health across the state and guiding actions aimed at improving oral health status, that initial effort was used as a model for other state oral health plans throughout the nation.