Publication Abstract

Authors: Gift HC, Drury TF, Nowjack-Raymer RE, Selwitz RH

Title: The state of the nation's oral health: mid-decade assessment of Healthy People 2000.

Journal: J Public Health Dent 56(2):84-91

Date: 1996 Spring

Abstract: OBJECTIVES: This communication reviews the history and process of establishing and assessing national health objectives, presents the status of oral health objectives in Healthy People 2000, and summarizes major issues related to the outlook for the nation's oral health from the perspectives of participants in a July 1995 briefing session with the US Assistant Secretary for Health. METHODS: Data obtained from sources such as the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey-Phase 1, the 1991 Indian Health Service Survey, and 1989-92 National Health Interview Surveys were examined in relation to specific indicators and populations defined at baseline using mid-1980s data. RESULTS: Examination of baseline measures and progress data shows that the indicators for objectives are, for the most part, stable or improving slightly. Deaths due to oral cancer have decreased. Edentulousness is declining. Placement of dental sealants on children's teeth is increasing. Adult dental visits are on the expected course. Little change has been observed in water fluoridation. Apparent declines in dental visits and increases in untreated dental decay for young children are potential concerns. Four objectives have no data for progress evaluation. CONCLUSIONS: The persistent and often dramatic race-ethnicity and socioeconomic differences on many objectives, in combination with possible alterations in the public health infrastructure, indicate that concentrated and collaborative efforts are needed to achieve Healthy People 2000 targets.