The IOHA is a lead partner with the Idaho Oral Health Program (IOHP), which is housed in the Division of Public Health, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The IOHP was established in 1951 by the Idaho State Dental Association (ISDA) and the Idaho Board of Health to address the issues of poor oral health in children and lack of dental care. Since that time the main objectives of the program have been to provide preventive oral health education and services to children, adolescents and pregnant mothers in the form of sub-grants with Idaho’s seven Public Health Districts (PHDs). Services provided by the PHDs with the assistance of Registered Dental Hygienists with Extended Access Endorsements include: Women, Infants and Children, Head Start and Early Head Start Fluoride Varnish Programs; School-Based Dental Sealant Clinics; and additional programs with local partners including Give Kids a Smile and the Healthy Me is Cavity Free Collaborative led by the IOHA. All of the oral health programs delivered by the PHDs also include the provision of oral health screenings and/or assessments, oral health education and dental home referral when necessary.
In addition to providing preventive oral health education and services the IOHP also has the main role of serving as a “State Oral Health Program,” which includes the following objectives: developing and coordinating partnerships with a focus on oral health prevention interventions; supporting and partnering with a statewide oral health coalition, the IOHA; assessing and tracking dental disease rates through an oral health surveillance system; creating, supporting and evaluating evidence-based community disease prevention initiatives; facilitating the development of state oral health improvement plan, the 2015-2020 Idaho Oral Health Action Plan; and lastly, reducing barriers to care and assuring utilization of personal and population-based oral health services for all Idahoans.
In 2021, the IOHA, under contract from the IOHP, will present the 2021-2026 Idaho Oral Health Improvement Plan. This roadmap will be the third iteration of a state action plan for oral health in Idaho.