What is Dental Public Health?

Dental public health is focused on evaluating oral health and healthcare needs of populations.  It provides leadership and expertise in population-based dentistry, oral health surveillance, policy development, and community-level disease prevention and treatment.


The Dental Public Health Research core focuses on oral disease occurrence, risk factors, prevention, and treatment in defined populations. The Marshfield Clinic Health System serves residents of north-central Wisconsin and this is an ideal setting to conduct dental public health research. Both dental and medical care is delivered to a large number of residents, and this captured information can be used to conduct population-based research on the connection between oral health and systemic diseases.

Current Initiatives:

  • Oral health literacy;
  • Examine links between human papillomavirus and oral cancers;
  • Surveillance of periodontitis;
  • Cohort studies on the association between oral hygiene and cardiometabolic risk factors and other projects.

Jeffrey J. VanWormer, Ph.D.
Dental Public Health Core Lead
Phone: (715) 221-6484