Oral Health- Chronic Disease Prevention Collaborative

“Georgia’s Approach to Enhancing Collaboration between Oral Health and Chronic Disease” is a unique innovation project which initiates and enhances the collaboration between two divisions at DPH, Maternal and Child Health (Oral Health) and Chronic Disease Prevention. Oral health and chronic conditions share several common risk factors like diet, tobacco, alcohol consumption, stress, socio-economic status, oral health care programs and interventions are a logical, yet underutilized, access point for chronic disease prevention. The Oral Health Chronic Disease Collaborative focuses on decreasing tobacco use in pregnant women, to improve both maternal and perinatal health.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in Georgia each year, costing the state more than 11,500 lives per year and nearly $5 billion dollars in direct healthcare and indirect costs, such as lost wages. Over the last 15 years, adult tobacco use has been declining, with a recent increase in the rate of decline. In 2003, the adult tobacco use rate was above 26 percent. According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the adult smoking rates fell from 21.2 percent in 2012 to 18.8 percent in 2013. However, alternative tobacco use rates have increased, particularly among youth. The Medicaid population continues to be two to three times as likely to use tobacco than the general population; and smokeless tobacco and smoking among pregnant women remains a significant problem in Georgia. Between 9,000 and 10,000 women in Georgia smoke throughout pregnancy; about 1 in 3 of these women is between the ages of 15 and 24, and 1 in 5 is between 24 and 29. The collaborative focuses on tobacco use prevention and cessation, by promoting the Georgia Quit Line to pregnant women (ages 18-24 yrs.). It also facilitates cross-program collaboration involving GADPH’s oral health program in the implementation of chronic disease prevention and control strategies.


  • Promoting Tobacco cessation and quitting in pregnant women.
  • Improving Perinatal and Maternal Health by decreased tobacco use.
  • Improving Oral Health and increasing access to Oral Health Care for pregnant women.
  • Improving Georgia’s rankings in perinatal health by addressing issues like preterm birth, low birth weight, and infant mortality.
  • Increasing the use of GTQL (Georgia Quitline) services for help and counselling for Tobacco cessation.
  • Educate and equip the Oral Health Providers and OBGYN’S with resources and trainings regarding Georgia cAARds


The GTQL is a free of cost service and is an important factor in helping tobacco users quit by providing callers with counseling, practical information on how to quit, referral to local cessation resources, and FDA approved cessation medications (eligible adults only). The GTQL has a broad reach, is effective with diverse populations and increases quit rates and highly cost-effective relative to other commonly used disease prevention interventions, with approximately 5 dollars in savings on health care costs for every one dollar invested in the resource. The Georgia Tobacco Quit Line (GTQL), offers tobacco cessation services 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. These services included telephone and web-based tobacco cessation counseling services, specialty counseling programs for youth and pregnant / postpartum women, and FDA approved Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT). Any Georgia resident, 13 years of age or older can call the GTQL, including tobacco users, family members and friends of tobacco users but only tobacco users 18 years of age and older are eligible to receive NRT. The GTQL is also available to healthcare providers, employers, and school staff to refer tobacco users to the quit line.


Health care providers are the direct point of contact for the people. Patients trust the judgement, advice and information delivered  by health care providers. Hence, being in the forefront and experiencing cases of tobacco use in their daily routine, health care providers have the intent and ability to motivate people to quit tobacco and get them all the support and counselling needed to make it possible.

Health care providers (Dental providers, OBGYN’s, Physicians and all medical practitioners) can support DPH in improving health and birth outcomes by referring tobacco using patients and especially pregnant women to Georgia Quitline. 

Related Links

Oral Health 

Tobacco Program 

Georgia Quitline 

CDC Pregnancy and tobacco 

Page last update 07/10/17