Oral Heath America was founded in 1955 as “America’s Fund for Dental Education,” a supporting organization of the American Dental Association (ADA), to raise funds for dental education and research. In 1994, the fund reorganized as Oral Health America, an independent non-profit organization, and embarked on a course to represent the oral health needs of the American public. After the release, in 2000, of the first ever U.S. Surgeon General’s report on oral health in America, OHA redoubled its efforts to raise public awareness of oral health’s importance to overall health.
Since 1994, OHA has conducted national education and communication programs that are raising the profile of oral health and helping to ensure that oral health is not overlooked in the healthcare debate. The organization’s first national program, Oral Health 2000, enlisted the support of former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop, in a significant public service announcement campaign, based on a phrase he coined at the time, “You can’t be healthy without good oral health.”
Oral Health 2000 also supported the oral health goals of CDC’s Healthy People 2000 by hosting a series of oral health conferences, for which OHA served as a neutral convener, which engaged decision makers and thought leaders from within and outside the dental community.
Over the last fifteen years, Oral Health America has launched and supported numerous programs focused on improving the oral health of Americans, especially the most vulnerable members of the population, and on increasing awareness of oral health’s significance to overall health. Some of OHA’s most notable programs include: NSTEP® (National Spit Tobacco Education Program), Smiles Across America®, Campaign for Oral Health Equity, National Sealant Alliance (now a part of the Smiles Across America Product Donation Project), Medical Dental Dialogues, and the Wisdom Tooth Project.