A Guide for Developing and Enhancing Community Oral Health Programs  
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Step 2. Assess Needs and Resources

B. Conduct the Assessment

3. Identify Existing and Potential Resources (continued)

Community Water Fluoridation

Since community water fluoridation is one of the primary contributors to improved oral health, it is important to learn about the status of water fluoridation in the community.

CDC supports a national water fluoridation reporting system that contains data on water fluoridation.

The state oral health and/or environmental health office or section may be able to provide data on water fluoridation as well as information about alternatives to water fluoridation such as school-based fluoride mouth rinse programs, fluoride varnish programs, and Head Start fluoride tablet programs. Oral health data may be collected in general health surveys conducted by the state health department.

Questions related to community water fluoridation include

  • Does the community have a source of fluoridated water? If it doesn’t, how easy or difficult would it be to obtain water fluoridation?
  • Is a law and/or process in place to obtain water fluoridation?
  • What is the cost of water fluoridation?
  • What is the community history of water fluoridation?
  • Who can we work with to obtain water fluoridation for the community?

The American Dental Association has a useful Web site with information about community water fluoridation (type fluoridation in the search box).

Oral Health Work Force

Learning about the capacity of the community’s oral health work force is critical in developing, integrating, expanding, or enhancing community oral health programs. Information about work force capacity is available from several sources. These include

Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions. Information about health professions shortage designation criteria and currently designated areas is available via an online searchable database.

State, County, and Local Dental Associations. These dental associations may be able to provide information about the availability of general dentists, pediatric dentists, oral surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontists, and hospital oral health services.

State Dental Licensing Boards. These boards have lists of licensed dentists and dental hygienists in each state. The state board may be able to provide a list of licensees organized by zip code.

State Health Departments. State health departments generally have an organization unit that focuses on health work force issues.

State Medicaid Offices. State Medicaid offices may be able to provide information about the extent to which oral health professionals accept Medicaid and SCHIP, which services are covered, and Medicaid and SCHIP services utilization data. It is important to learn about barriers to care that may exist related to Medicaid program regulations and practices.

State Primary Care Associations and Primary Care Offices. Located in each state, State Primary Care Associations and Primary Care Offices may have conducted helpful work force or other related assessments.

Work Force Investment Boards. Work force data and projections of future needs, in addition to funding for continuing education and resources to help expand the oral health work force, are available online.

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Table of Contents Appendices AACDP References Home Appendices References Conclusion Step 6 Step 5 Step 4 Step 3 Step 2 Executive Summary Overview Step 1 Acknowledgements