Poor oral health can be a contributing factor to many chronic diseases, or a symptom and consequence of chronic disease. The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) has demonstrated its support of state oral health programs. In September 2016, this commitment strengthened when NACDD entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) to promote increased collaboration between chronic disease and oral health programs in states.
As part of this project, a Chronic Disease Collaboration Workgroup came together to develop tools and resources for ASTDD members. In April, NACDD collaborated with ASTDD to host a member sharing session at the National Oral Health Conference, which focused on state examples of oral health and chronic disease integration. Using a “fireside chat” format, seven state oral health programs (Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, and Vermont) described the projects and approaches that are being implemented which align with four specific chronic disease prevention and health promotion priorities: 1) cardiovascular disease prevention; 2) diabetes prevention and management; 3) obesity prevention in children by limiting access to sugar-sweetened beverages; and 4) tobacco use prevention.
These types of collaborations not only enhance the ability of chronic disease programs to implement many of their evidence-based strategies, but they also can help to integrate oral health programs from “siloed” programs into more mainstream public health efforts. The session was well-timed as CDC had just announced the availability of additional funding for these types of collaborative efforts in a recent NOFO DP18-1810.