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About Us

Our mission is to promote and improve the oral health of Ohioans. We do this by:

  • Supporting programs that prevent oral diseases, such as community water fluoridation and school-based sealant programs.
  • Working to help Ohioans of all ages get the dental care they need.
  • Monitoring the oral health of Ohioans through collecting, analyzing  and sharing oral health data.
  • Helping other health professionals, such as physicians and nurses, improve the oral health of their patients.
  • Working to ensure that oral health is seen as an essential part of health.

What is Dental Public Health?

About Dental Public Health

Most people know about dentistry from going to a dental office.  Fewer people may know about dental public health, one of the nine areas of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association.  Dental public health helps improve the oral health of entire communities by:

  • Preventing oral diseases.
  • Promoting ways to help people improve their oral health.
  • Protecting the public’s oral health through laws and regulations that make sure people can safely get dental care. 

Dental Public Health in Ohio

Listed below are some examples of the dental public health work done by the Oral Health Program at the Ohio Department of Health:

  • We use data to understand the amount of oral diseases that our residents have and to learn whether their oral health is getting better.  Sometimes we collect these data through surveys; other times, we use data that has been collected by others in the state or elsewhere in the U.S. 
  • We evaluate whether Ohioans are able to get dental care when they need it.  We ask people what keeps them from getting the care they need.
  • We educate the public and other health care workers about ways to prevent oral diseases.
  • We work with others in the state to design programs to help improve the oral health of Ohioans across the lifespan.
  • We use the latest research to guide us in deciding the best ways to prevent oral diseases among Ohioans.

Dental Public Health Associations

There are three major dental public health organizations in the U.S.  Each offers many resources, such as newsletters, guidelines and publications. They sponsor conferences and webinars on dental public health research, education and programs.


What We Do

Click on the fact sheets listed below to learn more about some of the main activities of the Oral Health Program.


Champions of Oral Health

Pictured are Sandy Brado, RDH, BA, Ohio Department of Health, and Laura Longwell, RDH,
Michelle Deskins and Dr. David Hoag, DDS, Third Street Family Health Services.

The Ohio Department of Health is pleased to announce that Michelle Deskins, Dental Clinic Coordinator and Laura Longwell, Registered Dental Hygienist, Third Street Family Health Services in Mansfield, Ohio have been named the 2018 recipients of the Dr. James F. Quilty, Jr., Champions of Oral Health Award. Michelle and Laura are recognized for their ongoing outreach efforts and passion for the expansion of services to vulnerable populations, including school-aged children and local veterans. They were nominated by Dr. David Hoag, DDS, Chief Dental Officer at Third Street Family Health Services.

Third Street Family Health Service’s school-based program was designed to increase oral health education to families and provide easy access to care, reaching many vulnerable children. Through Laura’s steady leadership and hard work, the school-based program is now implemented in every Mansfield-area elementary school. Students are provided preventive dental care and referred to the Third Street Family Health Services Dental Clinic if restorative services are needed. Through this program, the value of oral health is reinforced to families, teachers and school administrators and oral health problems are addressed before they become serious.

Michelle and Laura have also planned and hosted an annual “Veteran’s Celebration Day” which provides a free dental exam and prophylaxis (cleaning) to many veterans who have no means of paying for these services. In its third year, the event is held the week of Veterans Day. Due to the popularity of this event, Michelle and Laura hope to expand the program into a two-day event and include other community agencies. Throughout the year, Michelle and Laura held fundraisers in Third Street Family Health Services to engage colleagues in helping to offset the costs of hosting this event. 

Dr. Hoag commended Michelle and Laura, saying they are an inspiration to the community and fellow staff at Third Street Family Health Services. He added that they have demonstrated what can be accomplished to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in their community. Dr. Hoag also expressed that while it is easy to take these programs for granted, he is mindful of how much effort is needed to make these programs run so smoothly.

Recipients of the award are presented with a plaque and their names are engraved on a plaque perpetually on display at ODH. Please see a description of the award and a list of past recipients.