of cooperation and communication among oral health professionals; and promotion of oral health in all USPHS agencies and programs.

The assistant secretary of health has another major role in oral health as the colead for a new HHS oral health initiative that is discussed later in this chapter.


Chapter 2 documented the evidence base establishing the key role of prevention in many oral diseases. HHS plays a key role in promoting the adoption of evidence-based preventive oral health services, including those provided at the national, state, community, and personal levels. The previous sections have already touched upon some ways in which HHS promotes prevention in oral health care, such as FDA’s role in regulating oral health products and therapies. Two other significant roles include AHRQ’s convening of the USPSTF and CDC’s convening of the TFCPS. The USPSFT reviews clinical research to assess the merits of preventive interventions. The USPSTF makes recommendations about which services should be incorporated into routine medical care, based on the strength of the evidence (USPSTF, 2010). Table 4-1 highlights a number of recent recommendations, conclusions, and statements made by the USPSTF that relate to craniofacial and oral health for both children and adults. The committee notes that significant time has passed since the USPSTF determined that there was insufficient evidence to make recommendations for routine risk assessment of children and oral cancer screening for adults. It urges the task force to consider whether sufficient evidence has been published since 2004 to make conclusive recommendations.

The CDC convenes the TFCPS, which is similar to the USPSTF but focuses on community preventive services (Task Force on Community Preventive Services, 2010). Table 4-2 describes oral health–related community-level interventions recommended by the TFCPS.

Other CDC Activities

The NCCDPHP supports research that investigates and improves prevention of oral diseases. Recently, the NCCDPHP supported research on the effectiveness of dental sealants (Griffin et al., 2008, 2009; Oong et al., 2008). The NCCDPHP also publishes guidelines and recommendations for best practices in oral health (CDC, 2010d). It promotes water fluoridation, has established infection control guidelines for practitioners, and has made recommendations for a variety of prevention programs, including school-based dental sealant programs, population-based interventions to prevent and control dental caries and oral and pharyngeal cancers,

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