5 Q&As about "Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges"

NIDCR answers questions about this seminal report as we prepare for its Fall release.

Q1: What is Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges?

A: In 2000, the U.S. Surgeon General issued Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, which demonstrated the importance of oral health and the key role of oral health to overall health and well-being. Now, more than 20 years later, the federal government has collaborated with academic researchers and health practitioners to create an updated in-depth report called Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges, which will examine progress in oral health over the past two decades, describe central challenges and opportunities that currently affect oral health, and articulate a vision for the future, calling upon all Americans to take action. This much-anticipated, exhaustively researched report will be issued by NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in the Fall of 2021.

Q2: How will timely release and distribution of the report benefit public health?

A: The forthcoming report will build on growing awareness of the importance of oral health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 WHO Oral Health Resolution. NIDCR has made release of the report a top priority for 2021. We believe the years of research that went into the report will provide important insights into the dialogue that is emerging, both in the United States and globally, about the ever-increasing importance of oral health research, and of access to oral health care for all.

Q3: What will NIH and NIDCR do to promote the report to ensure a lasting impact on the nation’s oral health?

A: NIH has a vast communications network that has the power to reach millions of people. When the report is published later this year, NIH will issue a press release that will be distributed to thousands of mainstream reporters around the world. As part of the communications plan, the news release will be distributed through HHS’s vast social media network, instantly reaching hundreds of millions of stakeholders. The report itself will be indexed for MEDLINE searches and posted to NIDCR’s website for viewing and downloading. The report will be promoted via press interviews, webinars, conference presentations, and social media. Finally, every major public health organization focused on oral health will be notified of the report’s release.

Q4: When did NIDCR take the lead in issuing the report, and what’s been happening since then?

A: In Spring 2021, NIDCR agreed to take the lead in issuing and promoting the forthcoming report. By that point, all sections of the report had been drafted by subject matter experts, after more than a year of researching and writing. Copy editing and proofreading were then set to begin. The content of the report has not substantively changed since NIDCR took the lead. The report is now in production, with tables and figures being added to text. Layout and design will begin soon. The institute invited public comment on the report and NIDCR’s role earlier this year via the following email: oralhealthreport@nih.gov. That email is still available for comments, questions, or concerns.

Q5: Will NIDCR use the report to engage with stakeholders, including the public, and facilitate discussion around access to oral health care for underserved communities?

A: Yes. NIDCR regards this report as a vital tool to identify some of the challenges facing the nation in terms of the equitable delivery of oral health care to all Americans. The report will serve as an invaluable resource for patient advocates, clinicians, and public health professionals and leaders, and NIDCR plans to use the report to coalesce various constituencies around shared public health priorities. NIDCR will encourage our stakeholders to further distribute the report to maximize the impact of the findings.

Last Reviewed
July 2021

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