The ADA President William R. Calnon, DDS, recently thanked the Department of Health and Human Services for including oral health among the “leading health indicators) (LHIs) used to evaluate the national’s progress in promoting health-care objectives for the country outlined in Healthy People 2020.

Healthy People 2020 sets out a number of science-based, 10-year national objectives to improve the health of all Americans. While oral health goals have been set in all three previous Healthy People decades, the 2020 effort marks the first time oral health has been named one of the leading health indictors.

In a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Administrator, Calnon wrote that developing a comprehensive approach to health education and promotion, care coordination, and effective prevention is critical to improving the oral health of the underserved.

Calnon’s letter further laid out the principles the ADA believes are critical to improving oral health access, including emphases on prevention, improving the existing model of dentistry, improving coordination between government agencies and programs, and strengthening the public-private collaboration.