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Check Your Health: Healthy Mouth, Healthy Life

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Check Your Health - Oral Health & Bad Breath

The Utah Oral Health Coalition (UOHC) is comprised of members from the public and private dental community, state and local health departments, community health centers, state legislators, educational institutions, and child advocacy groups. Dr. Rory Humme, Dean of the University of Utah Dental School stopped by KUTV to explain how UOHC advocates for and promotes programs and policies that address the unmet oral health needs of low income, uninsured/underinsured children and their families. The Coalition performs these functions through workgroups tasked with specific oral health challenges. The Public Awareness Committee (PAC) is one of these sub-committees.

UOHC PAC Mission: To increase public awareness on (1) the significant systemic link between oral health and overall health; and (2) oral health’s impact as a social determinant for low-income populations. Theirefforts aim at improving the status of “oral health” at the health policy table(s).

UOHC PAC Target Audiences:
(1) General Public
(2) All Health Care Providers
(3) All Health Care Stakeholders
(4) Policy Makers.

Their Message:
(1) Oral health is an integral part of overall health.
(2) A good smile and decent breath are key to landing a job, having a relationship and developing self-confidence.

For this, it is vitally important to ensure that UOHC's medical peers, dental peers, public and other health care stakeholders (hospital, long-term care center and clinic administrators, educators, health advocates, community health workers, CNAs etc.) all see oral health as an integral part of overall health. It is equally important that community leaders and economic engine drivers understand that without a healthy smile (or decent breath) it is hard for people to find a job, have healthy relationships and have a confident stride in the community at large.

To accomplish this, the Coalition is launching a campaign - “Healthy Mouth Healthy Life”. This slogan changes a little depending on the target audience. For example: “Healthy Mouth Healthy families”, “Health Mouth Healthy Aging”, “Healthy Mouth Healthy Dating”, etc.

Call for Partnership: The Utah Oral Health Coalition is comprised of diverse members from the Utah communities. Members are an integral and vital part of the Coalition. In the same spirit of collaboration and co-creation, they are reaching out to engage the community at large in our Public Awareness Campaign efforts. If this is of interest to you or your organization, reach out to the Utah Oral Health Coalition for partnership opportunities.

Questions about how oral health is a social determinant? Email: sri.koduri@hsc.utah.edu

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