Overview of the North Carolina Oral Health Section

The N.C. Oral Health Section (OHS) works to prevent dental caries by using evidence-based data driven decision making to advance the oral health, overall health, and well-being of N.C. citizens. Twenty-five field dental hygienists cover the state, offering dental screenings, educational services and programs aimed to maintain oral health. In addition to our oral epidemiology program, we have oral health programs focused on prevention in early childhood, preventive services in school health and are currently developing new programs for vulnerable adult populations.

The OHS provides direct prevention services in school health, including placement of dental sealants and coordinating fluoride mouth rinse programs. In addition to these direct services, the OHS supports community health initiatives by training medical providers in oral health prevention, as well as offering consultation to local agencies supporting dental access and fluoridation.

Mission/Surveillance Plan

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Vision Statement

Advancing innovative solutions that foster independence, improve health and promote well-being for all North Carolinians

N.C. DHHS Mission Statement

In collaboration with our partners, DHHS provides essential services to improve the health, safety and well-being of all North Carolinians.

N.C. OHS Focus

To promote conditions in which all North Carolinians can achieve oral health as part of overall health. To work towards eliminating disparities in oral health by using best practices to:

  • Reduce oral diseases through preventive services
  • Monitor the public's oral health
  • Promote access to dental care
  • Provide professional education

N.C. OHS Motto

Oral health for everybody!

People We Serve

  • Children
  • Vulnerable Adults
  • Caregivers
  • Healthcare providers

We work towards this focus in partnership with

  • Healthcare professionals and other professional organizations
  • Organizations that support improved health in their communities
  • Dental training institutions
  • Medical training institutions

*The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Division of Oral Health defines a Best Practice Approach as a public health strategy that is supported by evidence for its impact and effectiveness. Evidence includes research, expert opinion, field lessons and theoretical rationale.

Dental Public Health in your Community

"Dental public health is the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts. It is that form of dental practice which serves the community as the patient rather than the individual. It is concerned with the dental education of the public, with applied dental research, and with the administration of group dental care programs as well as the prevention and control of dental diseases on a community basis.” Burt BA, Eklund SA, Dentistry, Dental Practice, and the Community, 6th Edition, 2005, pg. 40. 

History of Dental Public Health in North Carolina

The N.C. Oral Health Section is proud of the long history of dental public health in North Carolina. The state has the oldest dental public health program in the country. Our program is known nationally for being a leader in public health dentistry and for its many accomplishments.

Related Information


Last Modified: February 18, 2020