Hartford - The Connecticut Coalition for Oral Health Planning recently released a plan to improve oral health of Connecticut residents over the next five years.

The Connecticut Oral Health Improvement Plan 2007-2012 was released at the Sharing the Vision statewide oral health conference in June. "I am proud that the Department of Public Health was part of this important initiative and I applaud the coalition for its insight and persistence in the development of this plan," said Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.

"The enthusiasm was overwhelming," said Deputy Commissioner Norma Gyle, R.N., Ph.D. who gave opening remarks at the unveiling of the plan. "Whether you are an individual, health care provider, organization or community, there is something in the plan for you to do to improve oral health in Connecticut."

The Report on Oral Health in America, published by the Surgeon General’s Office in 2000, stated that oral health is essential to the general health and well-being of all Americans and is achievable. The report also stated "a coordinated effort can overcome the educational, environmental, social, health systems, and financial barriers that have created vulnerable populations whose oral health is at risk." Many states responded to the Surgeon General’s call to action. Connecticut is now one of the 23 states nationally with a state oral health plan.

The planning process started two years ago with a kick off conference involving national and state leaders in oral health. "The coalition, made up of a diverse group of agencies and organizations, conducted focus groups across Connecticut to get the perspective from communities of what issues were important to them," said Dr. Ardell Wilson, State Oral Health Director. She explained that the plan has four broad goals for oral health:

(1) integration of oral health into overall health

(2) ensure an adequate dental workforce

(3) build a strong and sustainable oral health infrastructure and,

(4) advance best practices for oral health.

"Implementation of the plan will take coordinated efforts of all segments of Connecticut," Dr. Wilson said.

"The CT State Dental Association has been involved in the planning process from its inception and we are committed to working with our partners in the implementation of the plan to improve the oral health of all citizens," said Carol Dingeldey, Executive Director.

The Oral Health Improvement Plan 2007-2012 can be found on the Department of Public Health’s website at: http://www.dph.state.ct.us/bch/oralhealth

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and

advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.dph.state.ct.us or call (860) 509-7270.