IN RESPONSE to changes occurring in dentistry and public health, the CDC has broadened the role of its Dental Disease Prevention Activity (DDPA) to include the prevention of baby bottle tooth decay, oral cancer, orofacial injuries, and the transmission of blood-borne pathogens among dental health providers.
Functioning within the office of the director of the Center for Prevention Services, the DDPA unit started in the late 1970s with a single mission—to prevent dental caries by promoting community water-fluoridation systems. Now with a staff of 16, the unit has expanded its efforts to five other oral health areas, says its chief, Lawrence J. Furman, DDS, MPH.
In addition to continuing to promote community water fluoridation and dental sealants, the DDPA is working with the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition to prevent a major cause of severe tooth decay in young children. Called "baby bottle tooth decay" or "nursing caries," this pattern