Oral Health Promotion

Good oral health is essential to the health of all Louisiana residents. Oral disease is almost completely preventable, but it still affects children and adults throughout Louisiana every day.

Oral Health Impacts More than Smiles

Chronic Disease Leads to Oral Disease

Our oral health affects our ability to speak, smile, eat and show emotions. It also affects self-esteem, academic performance and attendance at work and school. Poor oral health is associated with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease and risk behaviors like tobacco use and sugary diets. In Louisiana, 86% of our parishes are Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas, meaning the majority of our state does not have access to the dental care they need.

Tooth Enamel
of third grade children in Louisiana had damage to a tooth’s surface or enamel¹
Water Spout
of Louisiana residents receive fluoridated drinking water²
Tooth Cavity
0 M+
Louisiana adults lost at least one of their permanent teeth due to tooth decay or gum disease³
Dental Tools
of Louisiana adults 65 years and older had all their natural, permanent teeth removed due to tooth decay or gum disease³
Championing Health Smiles

Improve the Oral Health of Louisiana Residents

Well-Ahead Louisiana is making strides when it comes to improving oral health outcomes in our state. Our oral health promotion program is built around three main pillars.

Promoting Awareness of the Importance of Oral Health and its Association to Overall Health

Understanding the relationships between oral health and other chronic diseases is critical to early intervention and disease prevention. Research shows there is a strong association between chronic diseases and poor oral health. Residents living with diabetes are more susceptible to developing oral infections and gum disease. In addition, residents who use tobacco are at higher risk for gum disease and tooth-loss, due to plaque and tarter build-up.

Partnering with Organizations to Improve Overall Oral Health for All of Louisiana’s Residents

Well-Ahead partners with various community and professional organizations to promote the importance of oral health as a contributing factor to general health and well-being. 

Encouraging Evidence-based Best Practices that Improve Oral Health

Our top priority is promoting evidence-based best practices like school-based dental sealant programs, the basic screening survey and community water fluoridation to improve oral health throughout Louisiana.

In coordination with our statewide WellSpot Designation program, we work with organizations to implement evidence-based strategies and promote healthy choices in the spaces and places where we live, work, learn and play to reduce the burden of oral disease throughout our state.

Community Water Fluoridation

Well-Ahead works with organizations and communities throughout the state to increase access to optimally fluoridated water to improve oral health for the whole community.

Fluoride Varnish

Fluoride varnish is the most effective protection against tooth decay for children, and we work to equip providers and schools with the resources to keep smiles healthy.

Louisiana Oral Health Coalition

Well-Ahead convenes the statewide Oral Health Coalition, a voluntary collaborative of more than 60 stakeholders that utilizes evidence-based, best practices to ensure the best use of available oral health resources to improve the oral health of all Louisiana.

Love Your Smile

Oral health has an impact on your overall health. It’s important to learn how to care for your mouth so you can love your smile for years to come!

Oral Health Data Collection

Tobacco companies continue to innovate tobacco products and market them in new ways to get our residents, especially our young people, hooked on tobacco.

School Dental Sealant Programs

Dental sealants can prevent tooth decay, but are underused, particularly among children from families with low incomes and who lack access to care. Louisiana Seals Smiles, our replicable school dental sealant program, offers an effective approach for reaching these children.

1 Bright Smiles for Bright Futures Report, 2017-18.

2 Water Fluoridation Reporting System (WFRS), 2018.

3 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2018.