During the month of June, KOHC is recognizing National Oral Health Month with a new topic each week. After a focus on the systemic connections between oral health and overall health last week, we are shifting our focus to the importance of making healthy choices and the ways federal and state investments can support oral health.
We know that making healthy choices each day can have a big impact on our overall health and wellbeing, including oral health. This includes what foods and drink we are choosing and providing for our children. The Drink Pyramid illustrates the importance of drinking water, preferably fluoridated tap water, and limiting sugary drinks to protect our teeth. In addition, the foods we eat everyday contribute to our oral and overall health and provide the nutrition we need to thrive. However, without access to safe, fluoridated tap water and healthy food choices, many Kentuckians face difficulty maintaining the oral and overall health they want.
KOHC is excited to see new investments being made both federally and at the state level to expand access to safe drinking water and nutrition support for all Kentuckians. As part of the American Rescue Plan dollars allocated to Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear and state lawmakers agreed during the 2021 legislative session $250 million will be dedicated to clean drinking water and wastewater grants to fund projects across the state through Senate Bill 36. In addition, we have seen the federal government make continued investments in nutrition supports throughout the pandemic, such as the P-EBT benefit for children learning virtually, increased investments to food banks, and support for food supply chains.
Although we have seen important investments being made in Kentucky to support healthy food and drink choices, we know there are additional investments that are needed to support the oral and overall health of all Kentuckians. We must continue to support oral health programming in Kentucky, including oral health literacy campaigns, regularly collect state and county-level oral health data, and provide adequate funding for Medicaid to ensure all Kentuckians can access the oral health and preventive healthcare they need.
We know that oral health is systemically connected to overall health and is a key factor in everyone’s ability to eat, work, grow, learn, and thrive. Join KOHC in our efforts to advocate for the investments needed to ensure all Kentuckians can access the tools they need to achieve optimal oral health and overall wellbeing.