MDH Oral Health Update

April 30, 2015

As you may be aware, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its final recommendation for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water to prevent tooth decay on Monday, April 27, 2015. Merry Jo Thoele, the MDH Oral Health Program Director, and David Rindal, Senior Engineer in the MDH Drinking Water Protection Section, were in the audience when the Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Dr. Boris Lushniak made the announcement at the opening ceremony of the National Oral Health Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
Dr. Lushniak stated, “While additional sources of fluoride are more widely used than they were in 1962, the need for community water fluoridation still continues. Community water fluoridation continues to reduce tooth decay in children and adults beyond that provided by using only toothpaste and other fluoride-containing products.”
Both the Drinking Water Protection Section and the Oral Health Program of MDH were prepared for this announcement and will be addressing the rules change needed for community water supply operators to implement the new recommendation. The Oral Health Program will soon be updating its website with more information about fluoridation and oral health.
Below are some links and resources that may be helpful to you:

HHS Fluoridation Statement

CDC Fluoridation Statement

CDC Fluoridation homepage

Campaign for Dental Health


March 5, 2015

The National Center for Health Statistics has released a new Data Brief,  “Dental Caries and Sealant Prevalence in Children and Adolescents in the United States, 2011–2012.” These data from the National Health and Examination Nutrition Survey (NHANES) provide the most recent picture of the oral health of children and adolescents in the United States.  Data are presented for children aged 2 to 19 years and are available for the racial and ethnic groups assessed by NHANES, including, for the first time, Asians. Indicators include the prevalence of dental caries in the primary and secondary teeth, untreated caries, and the receipt of dental sealants. The data show that despite tremendous improvements in oral health over the past 50 years, tooth decay remains one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in the U.S.
The report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db191.htm. For Minnesota-specific information about children's dental caries and sealant rates from the 2010 Basic Screening Surveillance (BSS), go to Oral Health information at the Minnesota Public Health Data Access portal.

TWO BRIEFS WITH SIMILAR FINDINGS: The U.S. To Experience Dental Provider Shortages
The Health Resources and Services Administration recently released a brief presenting national and state-level estimates of supply and demand for dentists and dental hygienists. They used a baseline in 2012 and for 2025 using the HRSA Health Workforce Simulation Model (HWSM) to pinpoint where dental shortages are likely to occur.
The Network for Public Health Law, in conjunction with 23 key stakeholders released a brief in October 2014 outlining current concerns for oral health and explores policy options to increase access to oral health care and improve health by expanding the oral health workforce. It is designed to help policy-makers, public health professionals and community members translate proven public health science into public health law and community practice at every level of government. Innovative ideas to expand the oral health workforce include expanding the role of other dental professionals, such as community dental health coordinators, dental therapists, community health workers and dental hygienists.  Minnesota provided an example of dental therapists at work in this brief, with our work starting in 2009. 


February 5, 2015

Find Data and Create Reports with New Minnesota Oral Health Data Source
Minnesota Oral Health Data  is now available for use on the Minnesota Public Health Data Access portal, improves access to key data affecting the oral health of Minnesotans and helps link key determinants of health such as income and access to dental care.

Choose Your Format and Data
Easily access up-to-date national, Minnesota state and county oral health data, track trends in disease and dental service use, and more readily identify health disparities and unmet needs via computer, mobile or tablet. Use summaries found under "Facts and Figures" or easily create your own reports under "Data Queries" using a variety of variables, such as:

State data:
•  Minnesota adult dental service use
•  Tooth loss among older adults (65 years and older)
•  Caries experience (tooth decay) and dental sealant rates among third graders enrolled in public schools

State and County data:
•  Adult and child dental service use among Minnesota Health Care Program/Medicaid enrollees
•  Public school free/reduced lunch enrollment

The MN Public Health Data Access portal includes statewide data on environmental and public health topics using graphs, charts, interactive map systems, dynamic queries and health information to inform public health professionals, researchers, policymakers and the general public.
This is one of few online state oral health statistical systems in the country. The project represents an ongoing collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Health Oral Health Program and community partner and funding agent, the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. 


January 16, 2015

Oral Health Update: National Fluoride Anniversary Information
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Locally, the state of Minnesota has required municipalities to provided fluoridated water in our community water supplies since 1970.
The Children's Dental Health Project (CDHP), a national organization, is working with the American Academy of Pediatrics to launch a Social Media Storm at Noon (CST) on Friday, January 23rd to observe the 70th anniversary of nationwide community water fluoridation. 
If you and your organization would like to participate, here are the details:

  • The Social Media Storm will last 70 minutes to commemorate 70 years of water fluoridation. During this time, CDHP is encouraging people who care about oral health to post a couple of messages to Twitter and/or Facebook. At 1:10 p.m. (CST), the event will conclude.
  • Participants can write messages of their own or use messages from the CDHP social media kit, and CDHP encourages everyone posting a message to use the same hashtag of #factsfavorfluoridation. Doing so will make it possible for people to follow the entire thread of messages. If you tweet prior to the designated time, CDHP will not be able to track participation.


Updated Thursday, May 07, 2015 at 11:17AM