Oral Health by the Numbers

Data is an essential component of public health.  Data should be what drives decisions and change.  It is our role to collect and provide oral health surveillance data in Texas.  DSHS both conducts surveillance through its Texas Oral Health Basic Screening Surveys (BSS) of schoolchildren and analyzes oral health data from other surveys conducted throughout the state.  We analyze oral health data and make it available to our partners and stakeholders.

The Texas Oral Health Surveillance System  

The Texas Oral Health Surveillance System (TOHSS) defines public health surveillance as an ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health data for purposes of improving health. The creation of TOHSS allows Texas to collect and review oral health data from available standardized reporting formats. It also allows Texas to compare the oral health of its residents to that of national standards, such as the National Oral Health Surveillance System (NOHSS), jointly developed by the CDC and the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD), and Healthy People 2020 (HP2020), which is maintained by the United States (US) Department of Health and Human Services. By analyzing trends over time, essential oral health information is available for stakeholders and policymakers to evaluate current systems and identify potential resources needed to improve the oral health of all Texans in the future. 

The Texas Oral Health Surveillance System Plan  provides a detailed outline of DSHS's five-year plan for collecting and disseminating oral health data.

Texas Oral Health Data Briefs

Data and Surveillance for Children

The Basic Screening Survey (BSS) is a standardized oral health data collection method. DSHS Oral Health Program conducts a school-based BSS every five years to to assess the oral health of Texas students and monitor changes over time.

The National Survey of Children's Health is designed to provide national and state-level estimates on key indicators of health and well-being of children, their families and communities. This survey compares national and state to state level estimates including several oral health indicators.

The School Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) Survey is a surveillance system that monitors the prevalence of overweight and obesity in school-aged children in Texas. SPAN identifies factors in Texas students that may underlie obesity, including dietary behaviors, nutrition knowledge and attitudes, physical activity, and social and environmental factors.

Data and Surveillance for Pregnant Women

Teeth Cleaning During Pregnancy in Texas PRAMS 2012-2016 poster as presented at the CityMatCH Leadership & MCH Epidemiology virtual conference on September 16-18, 2020 

The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) provides the most comprehensive population-based data on maternal health care before, during, and after pregnancy in Texas.

Data and Surveillance for Adults

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the nation's premier system of health-related telephone surveys that collect state data about US residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. 

Smile Proud was a grant funded pilot project undertaken to improve daily oral hygiene, and impact oral health-related conditions, among Texas nursing home residents. The TMF Health Quality Institute conducted the survey from March 2017 to March 2019 using the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors Adult Basic Screening Survey (BSS) methodology. The Department of State Health Services, Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Unit was responsible for analyzing and reporting the data.

Human Papilloma Virus

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer (OPC). OPC occurs on the back of the throat and base of the tongue. The Texas HPV Coalition and Dallas County Dental Society helped OHIP conduct a survey of Dallas County dental providers in April 2020. The goal of the survey was to determine if dental providers in Dallas County recommend HPV vaccination. They also provided feedback on how to best educate providers about HPV and its vaccine.

Oral Health by the Numbers Resources


Last updated October 22, 2020