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Oral/Dental Health

275 E. Main St.
Frankfort, KY  40621
(502) 564-3246

Julie W. McKee
State Dental Director
 

Mission

Assure oral health for Kentucky

Overview

The Kentucky Oral Health Program (KOHP) (formerly the Dental Health Program) has a long and proud history with the Department for Public Health. When  Kentucky established a dental health program in 1928, it was the third state in the country to have a public dental health program.

One of KOHP's major efforts is in fluoridation. In 1951, Maysville became the first community in Kentucky to fluoridate its water supply. Fluoridation has continued successfully since then. Today approximately 96 percent of our citizens are on a fluoridated water supply, making Kentucky a national leader. The American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control and the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors have recognized Kentucky's efforts.

The KOHP also offers a fluoride supplement program for preschool children whose home drinking water supply is fluoridedeficient. The KOHP has limited number of health education materials available for the public and professionals.

Kentucky Oral Health Program brochure

Community Fluoridation

 

In 1951, KOHP began its first community fluoridation efforts in Maysville. Today, 217 fluoridated communities serve nearly 90 percent of Kentucky’s population. Fluoridation is mandatory (KRS 211.190; KAR 902 115.010) for community water supplies serving a population of 1,500 or more. Community water supplies serving  populations of fewer than 1,500 may voluntarily fluoridate. In 1994, KOHP became responsible for the enforcement of fluoride regulations. Staff in this program work closely with water plants through monitoring and technical assistance. In 2000, 99.2 percent of the 217 fluoridated communities were fluoridated at an optimum level.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about your water supply. To find out more, go to My Water's Fluoride Web page.

KRS Chapter  211 #190 -  Public health services to be provided by the cabinet.
KAR 902 Chapter 115 # 010 - Definitions
KAR 902 Chapter 001 # 400 - Administrative hearings

Rural School Fluoridation

This program began in 1975. Its purpose is to provide fluoridated water to schoolchildren living in rural areas not served by a fluoridated water supply. This is done by installing equipment to add fluoride to school water supplies. Schools in this program participate on a voluntary basis. At its peak, the program served 150 schools and 40,000 students. As fluoridated water lines extend into rural areas, the number of schools in need of this program has diminished.

Today the program serves 12 schools with approximately 3,000 students. Staff in the fluoridation program are responsible for installing and maintaining equipment and monitoring water samples. During the past several years, all rural schools have been fluoridated at an optimum level in accordance with program guidelines.

Fluoride Supplements

Kentucky began its fluoride supplement program in 1978. This program primarily serves children 6 months to 6 years old whose home water supply is low in fluoride. Providers are county health departments and private dentists and physicians.

The provider assesses the drinking water supply. If it is not from a known fluoridated water source (e.g. city water), a water sample kit is issued to the family. A sample is sent to the state laboratory for analysis. If the water is low in fluoride, supplementation may be required. Dosage is based on the level of fluoride in the water and the child’s age in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

The supplements come in the form of drops and tablets. Drops are issued to children between 6 months and 3 years of age while tablets are given to children 3 and older. Providers receive supplements and testing supplies free of charge. There is no cost to families to participate in this program.

Fluoride Supplement Algorithm

Fluoride Supplement Supplies for Private Providers

Private Provider Order Form

Oral Health Education

Along with water fluoridation, education is very important in the prevention of dental disease. For parents, information on early childhood caries (baby bottle tooth decay) can help prevent harm to their infant’s teeth. Knowledge of proper brushing and flossing techniques along with good nutritional habits can help children towards a lifetime of sound oral health.

We also keep limited quantities of educational materials and toothbrushes on hand. These are available free of charge to the public with our primary emphasis towards county health departments, elementary schools, head-start programs and family resource centers.

For additional information about educational materials, contact your local county health department or the Kentucky Oral Health Program at  (502) 564-3246.

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Last Updated 5/29/2014
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