Oral health is integral to general health and well-being.
Oral health refers to the standard of health of the oral and related tissues that enable an individual to eat, speak and socialise without active disease, discomfort or embarrassment. While oral diseases are common, they are largely preventable through population-level interventions that are centred on increased access to water fluoridation, health promotion, and disease prevention.
An integrated risk factor approach recognises that chronic diseases and conditions, such as overweight and obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and oral disease share common risk factors, such as poor diets, smoking and alcohol use.
The Centre for Oral Health Strategy within the NSW Ministry of Health develops strategic directions and structures for oral health promotion across NSW, directs oral health promotion policies and programs state wide, and convenes the NSW Oral Health Promotion Network (the ‘Network’) meetings.
The objective of the Network is to ensure oral health promotion efforts in NSW are collaborative, well coordinated, based on best evidence-based practice, and continuously delivered in an effective and efficient manner. The membership includes Oral Health Promotion Coordinators, or delegates, from each Local Health District, and representation from community groups, dental or oral health associations and industries, allied health, and tertiary education institutions.
The Network, which has been operating since 2005, provides a structure for the coordination of state-wide oral health promotion policies, programs and resources, and the dissemination of health promotion information at the local level. Local Health District Oral Health Promotion Coordinators play a key role in the implementation of state-wide policies and programs at the local level.
Priority populations for NSW include early childhood, children and adults with special needs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, older adults, and rural and remote communities.