NRHA National Rural Oral Health Initiative

The National Rural Oral Health Initiative is the combined effort of the National Rural Health Association and the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement to improve oral health disparities in rural America through policy, communications, education and research. As oral health issues have long impacted those living in rural communities, the activities included in this initiative are designed to enhance access to quality oral health care.

NRHA has released the association's 2020 Compendium of Rural Health Best Practices. The compendium will contain best practices in programs, models, or policy aimed at enhancing access to quality rural oral health care. NRHA previously released the 2017 Compendium of Rural Oral Health Best Practices.
The specific purpose of the National Rural Oral Health Initiative is to provide leadership on rural oral health care with the intent to establish oral health care as part of primary care, thereby increasing health care access for all rural Americans.
The initiative is focused on:
  • Policy: Development of a special rural oral health interest group to provide policy recommendations/analysis that target legislative and regulatory barriers.
  • Communications: Disseminate rural oral health information and a compendium of best practices via NRHA.
  • Education: Integrate rural oral health-related tracks within NRHA conferences, rural community health worker training, and within strategies utilized by state rural health associations.
  • Research: Advance rural oral health-related research and policy.

Resources and information

COVID-19 Oral Health Resources
  • COVID-19: Economic Impact on Dental Practices from the American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute
  • American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) Resource Round-Up: COVID 19: This regularly updated site includes resources for public health professionals on how to approach COVID-19 response.
  • Kaiser Family Foundation Medicaid Emergency Authority Tracker: This page aggregates tracking information on approved Medicaid emergency authorities to address the COVID-19 Coronavirus emergency. 

  • National Network for Oral Health Access State by State Recommendations for Dental Clinics: This spreadsheet tracks recommendations from state public health officials for the provision of dental care with respect to COVID-19

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Recommendations on Dental Procedures During COVID-19 Response: This guidance (released March 18) includes recommendations that all non-essential dental procedures be delayed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) COVID-19 Updates for Dental Hygienists: This regularly updated resource provides information and guidance for dental hygienists regarding COVID-19. 

  • American Dental Association (ADA) COVID-19 Recommendations: Recommendations (released March 16) that dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures in response to the spread of COVID-19.

  • American Public Health Association (APHA) Oral Health Section Statement on COVID-19: The Oral Health Section of APHA advises all dental offices and clinics to voluntarily limit dental care to emergencies and urgent situations only. 

NRHA Rural Oral Health Compendium

Water fluorination information/resources:    


DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement
The DentaQuest Partnership is passionate about and committed to revolutionizing oral health to create an effective and equitable system that results in improved oral health and well-being for everyone.
For more information, contact Laura Hudson at 202-639-0550.