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Healthy People 2020 goals to emphasize oral health

Washington—The Association commended the Department of Health and Human Services for emphasizing oral health in a national goal-setting effort for the year 2020.

"By retaining this emphasis on oral health, Healthy People 2020 will continue to inspire remedies to what former Surgeon General David Satcher referred to as the 'silent epidemic' of untreated oral disease in America," ADA officials said.

"Oral health has been a focus of Healthy People since its inception in 1990, and its inclusion has inspired dynamic and highly effective collaborations involving the private sector, the public health community, government, philanthropy and our medical colleagues.

"We also applaud you for recognizing that oral health is inextricably linked to overall health and well being and for reinforcing that principle throughout the entirety of Healthy People 2020," said the ADA letter to the HHS Secretary's advisory committee on health promotion and disease prevention objectives for 2020.

"Your work fully acknowledges the role of oral health in access to health services, cancer, diabetes, educational and community-based programs, older adults, the public health infrastructure and tobacco use." The Dec. 31, 2009 letter offers Association comments and observations on the goal-setting effort as well as suggested changes to the recently announced draft objectives.

Healthy People is a decennial campaign to identify the most significant preventable threats to health and establish national goals to reduce them.