Department of Health

Oral health programs

Key messages

  • Develop partnerships and environments to strengthen oral health promotion in key settings.
  • Improve the oral health knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours of all Victorians.
  • Continue to implement programs and develop innovative approaches to prevent oral disease.
  • Build capacity of oral health, community and education workforce to improve oral health promotion.
  • Improve population data on oral health status to evaluate the effectiveness of health promotion interventions.

There is a wide range of public and private organisations that promote oral health in Victoria. The Department of Health supports comprehensive oral health promotion and prevention programs across various health settings at local, regional and statewide levels.

The success of oral health promotion programs relies on partnerships with a wide group of professional organisations such as Dental Health Services Victoria, community health services, the Melbourne Dental School, The University of Melbourne and the Australian Dental Association Victoria Branch.

Other organisations or groups include dental practices, local governments, the dental industry and the educational and welfare sectors.

Current programs

Statewide oral health promotion and prevention initiatives that are currently underway include:

Community water fluoridation

Community water fluoridation is the most effective population-wide intervention to prevent tooth decay. Ninety six per cent of Victorians have access to water with either naturally occurring or added fluoride.

Smiles 4 Miles

The Smiles 4 Miles initiative aims to influence practices of preschool-aged children and their families through a settings-based approach. The department funds Dental Health Services Victoria to manage this program. Please visit Smiles 4 Miles.

Healthy Families Healthy Smiles

Healthy Families Healthy Smiles improves the oral health of Victorian children aged 0–3 years and pregnant women. The focus is on building the capacity of health and early childhood professionals to promote oral health. The department funds Dental Health Services Victoria to manage this program. Please visit Healthy Families Healthy Smiles.

The Healthy Schools and Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement program

The Healthy Schools and Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement program is a free statewide prevention initiative that creates healthier environments for learning and playing. It includes oral health and healthy eating as a priority for promoting health across early childhood services and schools in Victoria.

Smokefree Smiles

Smokefree Smiles trains oral health professionals and support staff to conduct short smoking cessation interventions and to develop tools and systems required to support these interventions in public and private dental settings. The department funds Quit Victoria to manage the project, which is piloted in partnership with the Victorian Branch of the Australian Dental Association and Dental Health Services Victoria. Please visit Smokefree Smiles.

Oral Cancer Screening and Prevention Program

The Victorian Oral Cancer Screening and Prevention Program empowers health professionals in primary care to identify and support people at risk, recognise suspicious lesions and refer appropriately. In the first phase of the program, evidence-based training, information and tools is being offered to Victorian oral health professionals across community and private practice. This information may also be of interest to other health professionals, such as GPs and nurses. Please visit The Victorian Oral Cancer Screening and Prevention Program.


Reviewed 01 December 2021


Contact details

Dental Public Health (Oral Health Promotion) Community Based Health Services

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