President's Message

Oral Health Report Recommends Prevention Policies

We are proud to release the final report of the Oral Health Leadership Team, The Power of Prevention: The Potential for a Generation of Cavity Free Kids. This publication is the culmination of a year of work by a dedicated group of health professionals, oral health experts and children’s advocates examining the best State-level policies to prevent cavities among young children. These policies can help New York’s children grow up free of the pain of disease and the resulting loss of school time, and will save parents and taxpayers money on expensive dental treatments.

The Oral Health Leadership Team recommends:

  • Protecting and Expanding Community Water Fluoridation
  • Providing Universal Access to Dental Insurance for Children
  • Expanding School Dental Services
  • Expanding the Use of Community Health Workers

Nearly two years ago, the Schuyler Center launched an initiative, Keep NY Smiling, to improve dental health in the state of New York. We began this project because far too many New Yorkers suffer from dental pain and the burden of high dental treatment costs. Poor dental health results in missed days of work, poor performance in school, and acute and chronic pain. Tooth decay remains the most common chronic childhood disease in America. Still, this significant health issue does not get attention because the impact is often hidden by poverty and health disparities.

Over these last months, Keep NY Smiling has embarked on a number of projects at the state and local levels to help prevent dental disease in young children. Preceding this new report, we developed a series of Issue Briefs on the extent of dental disease in New York, which highlight evidence-based practices that prevent disease. We have also fostered partnerships in both Jefferson County and the City of Buffalo to demonstrate that communities can achieve measurable improvements in children’s dental health using targeted, evidence-based strategies.

The good news is that tooth decay is largely preventable. We look forward to working with policymakers and our colleagues in health and children’s advocacy to implement the recommendations in this report so New York can achieve a generation of cavity-free kids.