Association‌ of‌ State‌ &‌ Territorial‌ Dental‌ Directors
3858‌ Cashill Blvd.,‌ Reno,‌ NV‌ ‌89509
Phone‌ 775-626-5008‌‌

Dental Public Health Policy Committee

ASTDD is the principal voice in promoting the leadership capacity of state and territorial oral health programs and the impact that their collective oral disease prevention and health promotion activities have on the nation's oral health. ASTDD works with a broad array of federal, state and local public and private partners to educate decision-makers on dental public health issues and concerns of state and territorial oral health programs (S/TOHP). ASTDD develops and adopts a variety of documents including policy statements, white papers, issue briefs and other dental public health resources documents to reflect the Association's priorities and stance on dental public health issues. These documents contain statements that may include recommendations, strategies, and/or information to assist decision makers (such as healthcare providers, federal, state or private agencies, employers, public health officials, or the public) in choosing between alternative courses of action in specific situations. The Dental Public Health Policy Committee's function is to oversee the creation of resource documents on various issues for the membership and stakeholders.

NOTE: Prior to December 2015, this Committee was called the Policy Committee and its documents were known as policy statements. Between January 2016 and April 2019, the Committee was called the Dental Public Health Resources Committee, and the documents produced during that time were White Papers. These document names will not change. Note that some of the supporting documents listed below retain their titles referencing "resources" to reflect ASTDD's intent to provide resources to its membership and stakeholders.

Committee Members

Committee Logic Model

Committee Work Plan

2021 Dental Public Health Policy Committee Annual Report

ASTDD Guidance for Drafting Dental Public Health Resource Documents - ASTDD has developed this guidance document to encourage consistency in developing evidence-based statements (such as policy statements, white papers, issue briefs, fact sheets and other documents as well as Best Practice Approach Reports and State Activity Submissions and Descriptive Reports by all ASTDD committees, consultants, and others including dental public health residents. ASTDD develops these resource documents for S/TOHPs to reflect the Association's priorities and stance on dental public health issues and to share with and educate decision makers on dental public health issues and concerns of S/TOHPs. The documents contain statements that may include recommendations, strategies, and/or information to assist decision makers (such as dental and other healthcare providers; federal, state or private agencies; employers; public health officials or the public) in choosing between alternative courses of action in specific situations.

Dental Public Health Policy or Resources Statement Development Protocol

Policy Statement Template

Policy Statement or Resources Statement Review Form

Sample DC issue Brief

What is the Defining Line Between Policy and Advocacy? - Has your program engaged in a discussion about how to "move the dial" in your state and then worried about what you can and cannot do to elicit changes? In this session, Ms. Nicole Johnson, CDC Division of Oral Health Associate Director for Policy, Partnerships, and Strategic Communications, describes CDC's view of health policy, both formal and informal; and discusses the difference between providing education, policy development, and lobbying. She walks the audience through the federal language that addresses lobbying restrictions and explains what it means. Ms. Johnson also provided the audience with CDC resources that support policy development to promote health. (June 2018)

Listed below are definitions for committee actions

Dental Public Health Policy Statement - A Policy Statement provides detailed background information and analysis of a broad policy-related issue through documenting and summarizing key findings and implications of appropriate evidence-based research and best practices, and may offer a statement of support and or recommendations for a course of action.

Issue Brief - An issue brief is a summary that outlines and discusses key findings, implications or significance, and programmatic considerations of a specific dental public health issue. It is usually longer and explores an issue in greater depth than a policy statement.

Dental Public Health White Papers and Policy Statements

Issue Briefs

Links and Resources

Compendium of ASTDD Dental Public Health Resource Documents for State Oral Health Programs (March 2022)

Guidelines for the Development of State Oral Health Issue Briefs - questions to ask, major components of an issue brief, and lessons learned.

DC issue Brief - example of an issue brief for education/advocacy.

Using Oral Health Data to inform Decisions and Policy Development The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors developed this resource to provide tips for the use and presentation of complex oral health data so that the information is understandable and meaningful for a non-dental audience. It also provides a list of resources ranging from a communications toolkit to developing a "plain English" document. (March 2019)

International Center for Oral Health Inequalities Research and Policy

Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry, Oral Health Advocacy Toolkit for Dental Schools and Dental Hygiene Programs - The toolkit provides content to improve oral health advocacy skills of not only students but also practicing dental professionals.

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) develops policies and guidelines and advocates for programs that promote optimal oral health and health care for infants, children and adolescents, including those with special health care needs.  The Web site contains a section on definitions, oral health policies and clinical guidelines.

American Dental Association

  • The American Dental Association (ADA) encourages community health improvement, promotes the art and science of dentistry, and represents the interests of oral health professionals and the public.
  • The Advocacy section on the ADA Web site provides information on federal and state legislation and regulation, issues and actions.

American Dental Hygienists' Association
The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) advances the art and science of dental hygiene, promotes standards of education and practice in the profession and provides professional support and education programs. The website includes an Advocacy section with information about state dental hygiene practice acts, state and federal legilative advocacy, legislative tracking and other current issues.

The American Public Health Association

  • The American Public Health Association (APHA) works to advance the health of all people and all communities. As the nation's leading public health organization, APHA strengthens the impact of public health professionals and provides a science-based voice in policy debates too often driven by emotion, ideology, or financial interests. APHA is at the forefront of efforts to advance prevention, reduce health disparities, and promote wellness.
  • APHA has 32 sections that represent major public health disciplines or public health programs, including one for Oral Health.
  • A number of APHA policy statements address specific health issues, often within specific populations. APHA's policy statement on Access to Integrated Medical and Oral Health Services, issued in November 2016, addresses the problem of poor access to medical, oral, and behavioral health care services among persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials - The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) formulates and influences sound public health policy and ensures excellence in state-based public health practice. The members of ASTHO serve as the face and voice of state and territorial public health. The website contains a section on Policy and Advocacy with sections on Federal Government Affairs, State Health policy, and links to ASTHO's policy and position statements.
  • ASTHO Oral Health Policy Statement - ASTHO identifies oral health as a priority and supports integrated and adequately resourced state and territorial oral health programs to improve health, eliminate disparities, and reduce costs.
  • ASTHO Oral Health White Paper - This white paper is a companion to ASTHO's Oral Health Policy Statement and provides additional background and evidence on oral health.

Children's Dental Health Project

The Children's Dental Health Project (CDHP) was created to serve as a unique national voice for children's oral health to bridge the gap between research and solutions by promoting public policies that support sustainable solutions. It formulated research-based, policy options and provided the technical assistance needed for advocates and policymakers to ensure that the oral health of children is a priority. At the end of 2019 CDHP ended opperations and moved its resources to Community Catalyst, a leading national consumer voice on health care.The CDHP website remains available with information regarding legislation, related policy activities and recommendations for advocates and policymakers to advance the oral health of all children and their families.

  • Policy Consensus Tool Guidebook - The Children's Dental Health Project (CDHP) and the Division of Oral Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated to develop a facilitated consensus-building process for stakeholders. More than 20 states have used the Policy Consensus Tool to:
    • Enhance strategic thinking about oral health in the state
    • Strengthen communication among oral health advocates by encouraging an exchange of views, while providing a path to consensus
    • Support a process for identifying and prioritizing policy issues
    • Encourage transparency in obtaining and aggregating stakeholder input
    • Enhance implementation and evaluation of the State Oral Health Plan

Contact the ASTDD Central Office to inquire about using the tool to convene policy consensus-building sessions guided by trained facilitators.

Division of Oral Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Division of Oral Health works to prevent and control oral diseases and conditions and reduce disparities by building the knowledge, tools and networks that promote healthy behaviors and effective public health practices and programs. The Division provides training, resource development and technical assistance to states to improve oral health. CDC supports research to examine prevention strategies to assess effectiveness and efficiency and collects data to monitor oral health.

Healthy People 2020 and Healthy People 2030

Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) is a comprehensive set of disease prevention and health promotion objectives for the Nation to achieve by 2020. Created by scientists both inside and outside of Government, it identifies a wide range of public health priorities and specific, measurable objectives including an oral health topic area. Some oral health objectives are contained within other Healthy People topic areas. Healthy People 2020 Objectives can be used to assist states in setting policy priorities.

Healthy People 2030 (HP2030) sets data-driven national objectives to improve health and well-being by 2020. Every decade, Healthy People makes changes based on years of feedback from a diverse group of individuas and organizations, For HP 2030, the biggest challenge is a reduced number of objectives. With fewer objectives, there is less overlap and more prioritizing of the most pressing public health issues - making it easier to find relevant objectives. A new tool labels each HP 2020 objective as retained (with data that can be compared across decades), modified, related, or removed, and directs users to any similar objectives in HP 2030.

National Academy for State Health Policy Oral Health

The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) is an independent academy of state health policymakers working together to identify emerging issues, develop policy solutions, and improve state health policy and practice. NASHP provides a forum for constructive, non-partisan work across branches of state government on critical health issues facing states. This link goes direcetly to the Home/Policy page and a 2009 post but using the Publications/Blog/Reports tab and filtering by "Oral Health" will bring up more recent posts; a section of this website is dedicated to oral health issues providing a variety of reports and policy options.

National Conference of State Legislatures

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is a bipartisan organization working to improve the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures, promote policy innovation and communication among state legislatures, and ensure state legislatures a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system. NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. NCSL publishes policy statements on a variety of issues, including oral health.

National Maternal and Child Health Oral Health Resource Center

The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center responds to the needs of states and communities in addressing current and emerging public oral health issues with the goal of improving oral health services for infants, children, adolescents, and their families. The resource center collaborates with federal, state, and local agencies; national and state organizations and associations; and foundations to gather, develop, and share quality and valued information and materials.

Pew Center on the States Children's Dental Health

The Pew Center's Dental Campaign is a national effort to help states increase access to dental care. The Campaign uses research to bring critical issues to policymakers' attention and advocates in states to advance fiscally-sound policies and provide return on investment to taxpayers. This website features a variety of reports on cost-effective solutions.

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