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Oral Health

Improving oral health is one of seven priority areas from Oregon's State Health Improvement Plan.

View data, strategies and measures for this priority area

A healthy mouth is an important part of overall health, and good oral health starts with your child's baby teeth. If baby teeth are kept cavity-free, then a child's adult teeth are more likely to be cavity-free.

Having healthy baby teeth:
  • Allows your child to chew and eat properly
  • Helps your child to speak more clearly
  • Guides adult teeth into place
  • Helps to shape your baby's face
  • Keeps future dental costs to a minimum

Children can prevent cavities by maintaining good oral hygiene.

Good oral health includes:
  • Seeing a dentist regularly
  • Brushing teeth for at least two minutes, two times a day
  • Flossing teeth daily
  • Using fluoride (toothpaste, varnish, fluoridated water)
  • Choosing healthy snacks like vegetables, cheese, and fruits (not fruit juice)
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Protecting the mouth from injury

Brushing Calendar

To make brushing fun and rewarding, the OHA School-based Dental Sealant Program has developed a calendar that children can use to keep track of brushing twice each day. Please download the calendar in a preferred language.

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For more specific tips to maintain good oral hygiene for your child, please visit Oral Health Care for Infants and Children.

Oral Health Program

The Oregon Health Authority's Oral Health Program is responsible for advancing evidence-based strategies to improve the oral health of all Oregonians. The Program is designed after the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors' (ASTDD) model for state-based oral health programs. The Oral Health Program takes a comprehensive approach to address oral health issues across the lifespan through these activities:

  • Creating systems and leadership capacity to incorporate oral health into overall health prevention strategies
  • Ongoing data collection and maintenance of the Oregon Oral Health Surveillance System
  • Policy development
  • Delivery of school-based oral health programs
  • Oral health promotion and education for the public
  • Building partnerships and collaboration to support the integration of oral health
  • Workforce development

Learn about the keys to good oral health and get specific care and prevention tips.
young baby
Early childhood cavities, which includes baby bottle tooth decay, is an infectious disease that can be prevented.
first tooth logo
The First Tooth Project offers online training and resources for medical and dental providers to focus on reducing early childhood caries. This project is now managed by the Oregon Oral Health Coalition.
Learn about our two school-based oral health programs that are FREE for eligible schools.
Water fluoridation is the most inexpensive way to distribute the benefits of fluoride to the community. In Oregon, only about 22% of the population receives the benefits of fluoridated water.