The U.S. surgeon general
issued a landmark report in 2000,
, which described the poor oral health of our nation as a “silent
epidemic.” While there have been notable improvements in the oral health of
Americans, oral diseases remain prevalent across the country, posing a major
challenge for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
These dire circumstances could be improved if HHS strengthened its com
mitment to oral health, made it a national priority, and partnered with other
In 2009, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) asked
the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to assess the current oral health care sys
tem and recommend strategic actions for HHS agencies. The IOM convened a
committee to explore how HHS can enhance its role as a leader in improving
the oral health and oral health care of the nation.