A Pew Center on the States report revealed that only five of the 50 states in America received an “A” when graded on preventative dental care. Kevin E. Hardy DDS says the best way to prevent poor dental health in children is to start early.
According to the Pew Center on the States, 45 of the 50 states in America are not doing enough when it comes to preventative dental care. Maine and New Hampshire earned perfect scores while Alaska, Wisconsin and North Dakota also earned grades of “A.”
The report looks at whether or not states are giving sealants to children. Sealants are a definitive way to prevent tooth decay, which leads to a higher cost in health care. Sealants are about one-third the cost of fixing a cavity. Children should get sealants around the time they enter second grade, as permanent molars have usually come in by then.
Twenty states as well as the District of Columbia were hit with a grade of “D” or “F.” Four points were focused on in the Pew report: whether states performed sealants in needy schools, whether schools allowed that to be done without a visit to the dentist, met a national objective on sealants and reported data about the children on a regular basis. Essentially, a grade of “A” meant programs were in place to make it easy for children to get sealants if needed. States falling in the “D” or “F” range typically required students to see a dentist before receiving sealants in school – if the programs were even offered in the state in the first place.
Kevin E. Hardy DDS says the best way to help kids protect their teeth is to keep them away from sugary drinks and help them create a schedule for brushing and flossing.
Maine’s Dental Access Coalition praises the perfect score given by Pew. It said parents, school officials, dentists and more deserved thanks for their hard work in receiving the score. Pew’s research ignored cuts to the school-based healthcare program as well as low reimbursement rates for the state’s Medicare program.
Maine was the top-ranked state for children’s dental health for last year as well. But even in the five states given an “A”, Pew says thousands of kids are not getting the sealant protection they need.
Kevin E. Hardy DDS is committed to pediatric dentistry and believes children should be seen by a dentist after getting their first tooth.