Performance Improvement 2001. Oral Health in America: A report of the Surgeon General


The major message of this Surgeon General's report is that oral health is essential to the general health and well-being of all Americans and can be achieved by all Americans. Yet, not all Americans are achieving the same degree of oral health. While the Surgeon General's report is a comprehensive review of oral health as a public health issue, it is also in part a systematic scientific review of oral health research literature and an assessment of future research questions and priorities. Based on the oral health research review, the need for behavioral and clinical research, clinical trials, health services research, and community-based demonstration research is focused in several key areas. Development of risk assessment procedures for individuals and communities and of diagnostic markers to indicate whether an individual is more or less susceptible to a given oral disease can provide the basis for formulating risk profiles and tailoring treatment and program options accordingly. Progress is needed for a better understanding of the etiology and distribution of oral disease. The report states that epidemiologic and surveillance databases for oral health and disease, health services, utilization of care, and expenditures are limited or lacking at the national, state, and local levels. Such data are essential in conducting health services research, generating research hypotheses, planning and evaluating programs, and identifying emerging public health problems. Future data collection must address differences among the sub- populations making up racial and ethnic groups. More attention should be paid to demographic variables such as age, sex, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic factors in determining health status.

AGENCY SPONSOR: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

FEDERAL CONTACT: Dr. Dushanka Kleinman, 301-496-7716

PIC ID: 6861

PERFORMER: National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD