A Guide for Developing and Enhancing Community Oral Health Programs  
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Step 3. Determine Priorities and Plan the Program

C. Design the Program

3. Review Best Practices

In developing, integrating, expanding, or enhancing community oral health programs, it is useful to build on or tailor work that others have already done. Best practices are strategies or programs that have been shown to be effective in addressing a particular problem, with a particular population, in a particular place. A best practice in one environment may not be a best practice in another, and the strength of the evidence base for best practices varies. However, a review of what others have found effective can increase the portfolio of options for addressing a community’s oral health needs.

A good place to start a search for best practices is ASTDD’s Proven and Promising Best Practices for State and Community Oral Health Programs. Examples of programs are provided, and many aspects of community oral health programming are explored, including the following:

  • Water fluoridation
  • Alternatives to water fluoridation
  • Dental sealants
  • Fluoride varnish
  • Xylitol gum
  • Case management
  • Injury reduction
  • Tobacco cessation
  • Oral cancer prevention
  • Clinical treatment
  • Oral health education
  • Improved Medicaid/SCHIP access

The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center is another valuable source of information about best practices. The goal of the center is to help states and communities address public oral health issues, and the Materials page on the resource center’s Web site features information on an array of public-health-oriented topics. Also available on this Web site is the Bright Futures Toolbox, which features Bright Futures in Practice: Oral Health, as well as other resource focused on oral health services for children and adolescents, including those with special health care needs. Training materials designed to help health professionals and early childhood professionals effectively work in community settings (e.g., Head Start programs, WIC), are also available through the resource center.

Other best practices resources targeting use of fluoride and dental sealants include

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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