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Oral Health is an essential component of comprehensive primary care. The integration of oral, behavioral, and physical health care is central to our goals of providing whole-person, coordinated care and promoting health equity. A growing body of evidence shows that oral health is critical to overall health. Research suggests that gum disease and other oral health conditions are associated with heart disease, diabetes, low birth weight and certain types of cancers. Poor oral health also contributes to missed school and work days, and can have a negative impact on overall well-being. In short, the mouth is connected to the body and an important part of whole body health.
The state is focused on achieving the triple aim for all Oregonians – better health, better care and lower costs. Oregon’s health system transformation efforts have focused on wellness, treating the whole person and coordination among providers. Oral health is critical in this equation and over the last several years, community stakeholders and OHA have paid increasing attention to ensuring oral health.
To this aim, OHA appointed a Dental Director in February 2015 to work across the OHA to provide coordination and direction on oral health initiatives and dental health systems transformation work. The dental director’s role is to ensure all Oregonians have equitable access across the lifespan to better oral health and oral health outcomes.
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