Learn more about Nebraska's dental health scores!
The USA's supposedly winning smile earned a lackluster C-minus
on the nation's first Oral Health Report Card, to be released today.
The report card was issued by the non-profit advocacy group
Oral Health America. It offers a state-by-state glimpse at the causes of a
"silent epidemic" of oral diseases described by Surgeon General David
Satcher in a report, "Oral Health in America," out earlier this year.
"The report card findings support what we found
nationally in the surgeon general's report," says Satcher, who emphasizes
that he was not involved in the preparation of the report card, which was
reviewed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Three broad categories got special attention: prevention;
access to dental care; and health status, which is an overall snapshot of oral
health based on factors such as tooth loss, oral
cancer and oral health in children.
The report found extreme variation among the states on a
number of measures, including the fluoridation of
public drinking water, an effective means of preventing tooth decay and oral
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The USA landed its lowest grade in access to care. Roughly 108
million people, including 85% of the elderly, lack dental insurance. All but 10
states and the District of Columbia earned F's for failing to provide dental
insurance to people over 65.
While several states, notably Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
New Mexico, North Carolina and New York, earned top marks in specific
categories, not one earned an overall A in all categories. North Dakota with a
B-minus fared best overall.
The nation's low grades can be lifted with substantial
political will and minimal funding, says Robert Klause, director of Oral Health
America. "All of this is doable. That's what's so frustrating about it. It
won't break the bank, either."
Among the findings:
"We found that there are serious problems in terms of
access to oral health care," Satcher says. There are 100 million people in
this country without access to fluoridated water and over 100 million people in
this country without dental health insurance. For every child who is uninsured
for medical care, there are two to three children who are uninsured for dental
care. Only one in five children on Medicaid see a dentist in any given year.
"They certainly aren't going to have sealants
(plastic coatings that protect fragile teeth) if they don't see a dentist."
Oct. 9, 2000
By Steve Sternberg, USA TODAY
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Oral Health Report Care For
State Oral Health Program
Visits to Dentists
Use of Smokeless Tobacco
Access To Care: D
Prevalence of Dentists
Prevalence of Dental Clinics
Medicaid Dental Program
Dental Insurance Status of Adults
Dental Insurance Status of Elderly
Health Status: C
Oral Health of Children
Adult Tooth Loss
Oral Caner Rate
Source: Missing The Mark, DentalTown
Mag. Dec. 2000
February 06, 2008
By State Report Site