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Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General

Welcome to Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. This is the first report that has focused exclusively on oral, dental, and craniofacial health by the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service. The report was commissioned by the Secretary of Health and Human Services upon the recommendation of the Surgeon General, on April 9, 1997. The development of the report was guided by the following charge:

To define, describe, and evaluate the interaction between oral health and general health and well-being (quality of life), through the life span, in the context of changes in society.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) was given lead responsibility for the development of this report and has worked closely with a number of federal agencies and other organizations to carry out that task.

The report critically reviews the relationships between oral health and general health and well-being, provides major messages for the American people resulting from this review, and calls for the development of a National Oral Health Plan that will “improve quality of life and eliminate health disparities by facilitating collaborations among individuals, health care providers, communities, and policymakers at all levels of society and by taking advantage of existing initiatives.”

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 through community, provider, and personal services and programs.

September 2000

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This page last updated: January 06, 2014