Healthy Teeth Toolkit: An Innovative Software Tool to Help Public Health Programs

Award Information
Department of Health and Human Services
Award Year:
Phase I
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Small Business Information
520 3RD STREET, SUITE 108B, OAKLAND, CA, 94607
Hubzone Owned:
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DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Dental caries (tooth decay), is the single most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting nearly 6 in 10 children in the United States. Poor oral health is epidemic among all children, but is especially severe amon g lower income children. Untreated, tooth decay has severe consequences to society and to the individual, resulting in pain that can interfere with school attendance, learning, and play. Poor oral health often continues into adulthood, and research shows l inkages between poor oral health and heart and lung disease, diabetes, stroke, pre-term low birth weight. Community oral health programs (COHPs) are a key strategy for reducing oral health disparities, primarily through disease prevention, increasing acces s to care and policy development. Unfortunately these programs cannot readily quantify the results of their activities and researchers lack data to publish evidence-based solutions to influence practitioners and policymakers. This Phase I proposal seeks fu nding to identify the information that dental public health practitioners and researchers need to improve programs and policies for reducing the high rate of dental decay in low income children. It will determine the merit and feasibility of developing a s olution for these groups based on the existing OHS Prototype HTT e-tool kit database, currently used by a limited number of representative COHPs. In order to accomplish this goal, OHS will determine: The current information tools and data collection needs of a broad range of COHPs; the tools and data collection needs of researchers, policy experts and funders; the suitability of the existing Prototype HTT e-tool kit database to meet the identified needs of COHPs researchers, policy experts and funders; and the feasibility of developing a commercial version of the HTT that meets the identified needs of COHPs researchers, policy experts and funders. With established feasibility, the information determined will be used to create the specification for a commerc ial software product, the Healthy Teeth Toolkit (HTT) to be built in Phase 2, that will capture the information that the dental public health field requires and that will have broad appeal among community-based oral health programs. PUBLIC HEALTH RE LEVANCE: The Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health stated that The public health infrastructure for oral health is insufficient to address the needs of disadvantaged groups. Community-based oral health programs (COHPs) are the primary strategy for expa nding capacity to serve these vulnerable populations. The HTT e-tool kit is intended to enhance the quality of services of COHPs and to provide relevant data demonstrating changes in oral health status.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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