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

State Oral Health Program Infrastructure

State oral health programs make an essential contribution to public health and must be continued and enhanced.

  • A successful SOHP must have diversified funding that includes funding for state and local evidence-based programs.
  • A successful SOHP needs a continuous, strong, credible, forward-thinking leader.
  • A successful SOHP needs a complement of staff, consultants and partners with proficiency in the ASTDD Competencies for SOHPs.
  • A successful SOHP needs one or more broad-based coalitions that include partners with fiscal and political clout.
  • A successful SOHP must have valid data (oral health status and other) to use for evaluation, high quality oral health surveillance, a state oral health plan with implementation strategies, and evidence-based programs and policies.

Strong and vibrant governmental oral health programs at all levels are critical to achieving optimal oral health for all people. Good infrastructure increases capacity to enable basic programs to become strong, robust and resilient programs. Good infrastructure requires high levels of investment, expertise and political will. ASTDD provides several resources and technical assistance to states to help build and enhance state oral health program infrastructure and capacity.

Guidelines for State & Territorial Oral Health Programs
These Guidelines were first published in 1985 and revised in 1997, 2001, 2005, 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2018 to reflect changes in national public health guidelines, best practice models and advances in the field. The Guidelines are framed around the Core Public Health Functions of assessment, policy development, and assurance, and the 10 Essential Public Health Services to Promote Health and Oral Health in the U.S.The document is a useful resource for development or enhancement of state and territorial oral health programs and is used by ASTDD in program reviews and other types of technical assistance.

Essential Public Health Services to Promote Health and Oral Health in the United States (2021)

Summary of the Revised 10 Essential Public Health Services (2020)

Defining Public Health Practice: 25 Years of the 10 Essential Public Health Services Environmental Scan

Competencies for State Oral Health Programs (2020)

These competencies represent those skill sets needed for a successful state oral health program, whether they are present in oral health program staff or are obtained from other programs or outside sources. To reflect varying levels of skills, four levels of attainment are included for each competency. Competencies can help states determine where the program stands and what are realistic expectations and aspirations. The competencies were developed as companion tool to the Guidelines for State and Territorial Oral Health Programs.

Technical Assistance to States

ASTDD provides a variety of technical assistance to states. The request may be for help on a specific topic, help in conducting a self-study to determine progress or areas for improvement, a comprehensive onsite program review by a consulting team, or follow up to an onsite review. Depending on the type of request, technical assistance may occur via email, phone, travel to a state/territory by a consultant(s) or travel to another state or federal agency by someone from the state/territory. Complete the TA Request Form and send to Christine Wood, ASTDD Executive Director, 775-626-5008

ASTDD Infrastructure Enhancement Project (IEP) (2012)
The aim of this project, funded by CDC, is to review past efforts in infrastructure and capacity building and provide new information and recommendations to enhance and expand state oral health program abilities to fulfill their critical role in achieving optimal oral health for all people.

  • Infrastructure Enhancement Project 2012: Reflecting on Progress and Charting the Future
    This 50+ page report reviews State Oral Health Program (SOHP) infrastructure from 2000 to 2010 and the programs' capacity to address Core Public Health Functions and deliver the 10 Essential Public Health Services.  It includes Lessons Learned, Recommendations, Next Steps and a table on Return on Investments. Shorter, targeted versions for specific audiences, e.g., policymakers, oral health coalitions, and health agency administrators.
  • Evidence - Based Policies: A Key Element of State Oral Health Infrastructure. This handout is a targeted overview of how important evidence-based policies are to state oral health infrastructure, recommendations from the Infrastructure Enhancement Report for implementing policies , and what policymakers can do to support oral health policy development. (May 2013)
  • Oral Health Coalitions & Community Advocates: A Key Element of State Oral Health Infrastructure (2 pg handout)(2012)
    This is a targeted overview of ways that oral health coalitions and community advocates can use the IEP report findings, lessons learned and recommendations to advocate for strong, effective state oral health programs and policies.
  • Roles for State Health Officials (2 page handout) (Aug 2013)
    This handout describes the roles State Health Officials can play to support the 10 Essential Public Health Services to Promote Oral Health in the US.
  • Prevention & Dental Public Health (DPH) Infrastructure: A State Oral Health Program Perspective (PowerPoint)(2012)
    This presentation, presented as a DentaQuest Oral Health 2014 Initiative webinar, reviews evidence-based community prevention strategies; discusses how prevention is linked to dental public health infrastructure; briefly reviews the methods, some findings and conclusions from the 2012 ASTDD Infrastructure report; and lists some ASTDD Resources and some key messages.(26 slides)

State Oral Health Program Fact Sheet - This example, developed by Oral Health Nevada Inc., can be adapted by other groups to educate about the importance of state oral health programs (April 2015)

Collaboration Resources

ASTDD has developed several resources to assist State and Territorial Oral Health Programs in their collaborative efforts with MCH programs, community health centers and others.

A Model Framework for Community Oral Health Programs Based Upon the Ten Essential Public Health Services (2006)
This document provides guidance to help local public health agency leaders and policymakers develop oral health programs and services and provides a context in which to consider the relationship of oral health activities to public health responsibilities and desired outcomes. Oral-health-specific topics are discussed as they relate to the 10 essential public health services developed by the work group of the Core Public Health Functions Steering Committee.