Measuring Oral Health in North Carolina
Monitoring the oral health status of communities is a core function of a state oral health program and is similar to a dentist completing a dental examination on a patient. The Oral Health Section (OHS) conducts oral health assessments on groups of individuals to determine the overall oral health of a community, identify unmet dental needs and connect individuals to necessary dental care. The data from these assessments are also used by OHS and other partners to develop, implement and evaluate programs and policies that prevent oral diseases and promote optimal oral health for North Carolina residents.
Reports and Snapshots
State and Regional Data
OHS conducts annual Kindergarten oral health assessments in a sample of approximately 130 NC elementary schools. A systematic probability proportional-to-size sample of public elementary schools is drawn every five years from the complete list of NC public elementary schools. Schools are systematically selected from each of 10 regions based on kindergarten enrollment and Economically Disadvantaged Status. This selection method ensures that the assessment data accurately reflect the oral health status of kindergarteners in each region and ultimately the entire state of NC. The data are intended to present the oral health status of all NC kindergarten children, not just the neediest of children. NOTE: The final sample of schools will not include all counties in any given region, nor all schools in any given county.
OHS also conducts oral health assessments in Special Populations on a five-year rotating schedule. These populations include:
- Older adults
- Pregnant individuals
- Third grade children
- Preschool children
- High school youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities
As a service to counties that do not collect their own oral health data, OHS completes oral health assessments for all Kindergarteners in all schools in a given county every one to five years. This assessment data reflects the oral health status of kindergarteners in a given county.