Oral Health Matters – Legislative Day March 23, 2017
Oral Health 2020 (OH2020) began in 2011 as a national systems-change strategy, which today has evolved into a movement of interconnected networks at the national, state level and community level – for the purpose of reshaping the landscape and dialogue on behalf of optimal oral health for all. The DentaQuest Foundation, the leading US philanthropy focused solely on oral health, supports OH2020.
OH2020 is a multi-year effort to strengthen and unify the networks to achieve the following goals:
- Eradicate dental disease in children
- Incorporate oral health into the primary education system
- Include an adult dental benefit in publicly funded health coverage
- Build a comprehensive national oral health measurement system
- Integrate oral health into person-centered healthcare
- Improve the public perception of the value of oral health to overall health
Earlier this year, Christine Garvey, RDH, and Chair of Oral Health Nevada’s Board of Directors was named Nevada’s representative to OH2020, and chosen for this role in part due to her experience in making connections and understanding the importance of building and weaving relationships for creating systemic change. Over the next year Ms. Garvey is charged with identifying stakeholders, including non-traditional partners, in Nevada to involve in regional activities over the year. This includes identifying a grassroots representative in Nevada, who will work with Ms. Garvey to expand the oral health network in our state and increase knowledge about programmatic and advocacy best practices related to achieving the OH2020 goals.
The Oral Health Nevada Inc. Board of Directors believes that the evidence-based science supporting community water fluoridation as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay is overwhelming. Water fluoridation began in the 1950’s, and now – 70 years later, more than 210 million US residents are receiving its benefits.
The Board of Directors at their meeting on January 21, 2016, endorsed community water fluoridation with a statement supporting it as a sound population-based public health measure, encouraging eligible Nevada communities to begin and maintain fluoridation.
Read the Oral Health Nevada statement in support of community water fluoridation here https://oralhealthnevada.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/OHN-Support-for-CWF.pdf
Oral Health Nevada has released two new oral health resources. The information provides consumers and caregivers with useful tips for preventing tooth decay. The first resource, Tips for a Healthy Smile, is available in English and Spanish, and covers toothbrushing, the appropriate amount of toothpaste, the impact of nutritional choices and information on preventive measures including fluoride and dental sealants. The second resource,Tips for a Healthy Mouth for Someone with Special Needs, focuses on oral health for individuals with special needs and also includes hints for someone with a physical disability to maintain their own oral hygiene. You may download and print these new resources on our Consumer Resources page.
The “lazy days of summer” doesn’t describe Oral Health Nevada over the next several months. We started summer hosting an Oral Health Roundup at the Reno Rodeo at both their Kid’s Day Rodeo and Special Kid’s Rodeo providing oral health education at five different interactive stations. Children from Nevada attending the events learned how to brush and floss and that dental sealants prevent tooth decay. The children and their parents also learned about the negative effect that tobacco use has on the mouth and that e-cigarettes are just as dangerous as the traditional ones. All the children who completed the stations received a “Buckeroo Bag” filled with several items including a toothbrush, toothpaste and a tooth fairy saver box. During the Special Kids Rodeo, more than 100 children with special needs received Buckeroo Bags. The funding for the Oral Health Roundup was provided in part by the American Dental Association Foundation.
In July, we’ll be at the Nevada Disabilities Conference (Nugget Casino, Sparks), both as a vendor and a presenter. On Monday, July 20th we’ll be presenting a concurrent session titled, “Connecting Oral Health to Every Child.” If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself.
Oral Health Nevada Inc. has been awarded a grant from the American Dental Association Foundation to expand our efforts to provide oral health education to children and youth and their families. The funding will support Oral Health Nevada’s collaboration with the Reno Rodeo Association and its presence at the Reno Rodeo’s Kid’s Day and Special Kids Rodeo on June 20th and June 21st with its inaugural “Oral Health Roundup.”
Started in 1919, the Reno Rodeo is one of the top 25 rodeos in the county – known as the “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West,” with more than 116,000 spectators attending the 10-day event. “We are excited about our partnership with the Reno Rodeo and this funding will allow us to provide needed education to the more than 1,000 youth from around the state that attend the event on these two days,” commented Oral Health Nevada Board Chair, Christine Garvey. “This funding will allow us to provide interactive stations where children will learn everything from how to brush properly to the negative affect tobacco use has on the mouth to why dental sealants prevent cavities. It will also allow us to provide each child who participates with a new toothbrush,” explained Ms. Garvey.
Earlier this year, Nevada received a grade of “F” for children’s dental health in the Nevada Legislative Briefing Book. In addition, 47% of the state’s Head Start children have experienced tooth decay and 12% have untreated tooth decay. While, 64% of third graders have experienced tooth decay, 29% have untreated tooth decay, and less than 50% have dental sealants, which can prevent cavities in molar teeth. Furthermore, Nevada ranks higher than the national average for tobacco use – 43rd in the country (22%) for adult cigarette smokers, and 20th (10%) for those 12-17 years of age. In addition, about 3% of adults and 8% of high school males use smokeless/spit tobacco regularly.
Oral Health Nevada was one of thirteen non-profit 501(c)3 organizations in the country to receive the American Dental Association Foundation Semi-Annual Grant Program award in 2015. The American Dental Association Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that provides assistance for the dental community, and works to improve oral health by supporting access to care, research, and education programs. The ADA Foundation’s four Mission Pillars are Charitable Assistance, Access to Care, Research, and Education. The Foundation’s strategic ties with the American Dental Association, coupled with its strong volunteer leadership and its generous donors, give it a powerful yet flexible infrastructure to anticipate and quickly respond to the most pressing needs affecting dentistry and the public’s oral health.
For 70 years, community water fluoridation has played a major role in improving the nation’s oral health. Because of the dramatic role it has played in the reduction of tooth decay, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named it as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Community water fluoridation is one of the most practical, cost-effective, equitable and safe measures communities can take to prevent tooth decay and improve their oral health. Water fluoridation’s biggest advantage is that it is the best method of delivering fluoride to all members of the community, regardless of age, education, income level or access to routine dental care.
The benefits of fluoride’s effectiveness extend throughout life, resulting in fewer and less severe cavities. In fact, each generation born since the implementation of water fluoridation has enjoyed better dental health than the generation that preceded it. On April 27, 2015, at the National Oral Health Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the final Public Health Service (PHS) recommendation for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water to prevent tooth decay should be 0.7ppm. For more information go to http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/faqs/#overview5
On April 1, 2015, in conjunction with the inaugural Oral Health Legislative Day, Oral Health Nevada presented its annual Oral Health Hero Award to two Nevada Assemblymen, Teresa Benitez-Thompson and James Oscarson. Ms. Syd McKenzie, founder of Oral Health Nevada stated, “Each of these individuals has demonstrated public health leadership that initiated change and improved oral health for all Nevadans; they are our oral health heroes.”
Assemblywoman Benitez-Thompson was honored for her sponsorship of AB277 in Nevada’s 77th Legislative Session and its subsequent impact for increasing access to dental care for the state’s most vulnerable residents. As a result of the new law, low income children, seniors, the chronically ill and those with disabilities and special needs have access to oral health education and preventive dental care, the cornerstone of dental public health – leading to better general health and well-being.
Assemblyman Oscarson was honored for his dedication to public health and his outstanding support of school-based oral health prevention programs which have helped to address the oral health disparities impacting Nevada’s youngest residents living in low income households and in our most rural communities. According to McKenzie, “As a healthcare professional, the Assemblyman brings a unique perspective to his position as a Legislator.”
On March 12, 2015, Oral Health Nevada joined thousands of non-profits within the state for 24 hours of online giving during Nevada’s Big Give. Thank you to everyone that supported us making it one extraordinary day demonstrating that Nevada’s Oral Health Matters! #NVoralhlthmtrs
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