An interdisciplinary, multi-organizational group of New Jersey stakeholders, led by the New Jersey Head Start-State Collaboration Project, conducted a Pediatric Oral Health Forum in 2007 to determine the state of early childhood oral health in the state. This work identified risk factors for poor oral health, and developed strategies for improving children’s oral health services and utilization, including creation of the New Jersey Pediatric Oral Health Committee.
The committee, with representation from CHCS, developed the Pediatric Oral Health Action Plan for New Jersey’s Children Ages 0-6 to outline policies and approaches to improve oral health in children from racial/ethnic minority and low socioeconomic backgrounds. Its scope includes:
- Support to enhance prevention services;
- Support of broad-based oral health education; and
- Detailed strategies to increase access to comprehensive oral health services, particularly among children in state Early Head Start/Head Start Programs.
Developed with support from the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, the Action Plan was shared with New Jersey child-serving state agencies, academic institutions, health leaders in the state senate and general assembly, and provider organizations for their use. It is a valuable resource for those interested in strategies for improving the oral health of young children.