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At least nineteen Illinois cases are now linked to the reports of elevated lead levels in recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches. To learn more about the recall, go to https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/news/lead-poisoning-outbreak-linked-to-cinnamon-applesauce-pouches.html. If you or a family member consumed this product, consult your health care provider.

Illinois Oral Health Plan IV: Eliminating Inequities in Oral Health (2021-2025)

Oral health is a crucial part of overall health. Oral health does far more than ensuring good breath, strong teeth, healthy gums, and a bright, white smile. Good oral health and hygiene can improve your overall health, lowering your risk of complications due to several serious diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and preterm or low weight births. While oral health professionals know this and oral health advocates promote it, many parents, children, other adults, and even medical professionals who treat them do not understand the critical relationship between oral and general physical health. As a result, too often in Illinois and across America, good oral health habits are lost, proper oral health care is inaccessible, and many measures to prevent adverse oral health outcomes remain unknown. Consequently, oral health problems too often go untreated, thereby burdening individual lives as well as the health care system.

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. It also referenced reported associations between chronic oral infections and diabetes, osteoporosis, heart and lung conditions, and several adverse pregnancy outcomes.

The report’s central message was that oral health is essential to general health and can be improved despite several significant barriers. The report concluded with a framework for action, calling for a national oral health plan to improve quality of life and eliminate oral health disparities and inequities. Illinois, like many states, 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, like many states, 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.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Oral Health Section (OHS) released the Illinois Oral Health Plan (IOHP) IV: Eliminating Inequities in Oral Health (2021 – 2025) in 2021. The IOHP was informed by many stakeholders across the state. The IDPH OHS values ongoing feedback from stakeholders and, over the course of this iteration of the IOHP, sought to solicit feedback on utility, awareness, sustainability, and alignment with organizational mission/goals. An evaluation survey was then created to solicit feedback to inform the direction of future iterations of the IOHP.