Oral Health Surveillance

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.  OHIP 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. An essential component of the system is the dissemination and use of surveillance data to improve oral health. This is due to the fact that tooth decay is the single most common childhood disease according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The primary focus of TOHSS is to monitor trends in oral disease, such as early childhood caries, loss of teeth, and oral and pharyngeal cancer; effectiveness of preventive services, such as dental sealants, community water fluoridation, and fluoride varnish; and dental service utilization, through such programs such as the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) Program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  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 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.

Basic Screening Survey

The Basic Screening Survey (BSS) is a standardized oral health data collection method.  DSHS conducts this survey of public schoolchildren in third grade every five years. The most recent survey was conducted during 2017-2018. 
The purpose of the survey is to assess the oral health of Texas students and monitor changes over time. Results of the survey are disseminated to stakeholders and used to guide program activities.

Texas Oral Health Data Resources

Oral Health Surveillance Data Chart Book [PPT 3.39MB]

Texas Oral Health Surveillance Plan [DOC 106KB]

Texas Third Grade Oral Health Basic Screening Survey Results-Oral Health and the Basic Screening Survey [PDF 128KB]

Texas Adult Oral Health (OH) and the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System-Adults and Oral Health [PDF 147KB]

Texas Oral Health and Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System-Adolescents and Oral Health [PDF 181KB]

Texas Oral Health and the National Survey of Children’s Health-Access and Utilization of Dental Care [PDF 145KB]


Last updated May 15, 2019