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New Pew Research Foundation Report Gives New Hampshire an ‘A’ for State’s Efforts to Protect Children from Tooth Decay
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Oral Health Program
Publish Date:
March 23, 2015

Concord, NH – A new report from the Pew Research Foundation gives New Hampshire an "A" grade for its efforts to protect children from tooth decay with dental sealants. The ranking reflects combined efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), children’s health advocates, and providers to promote good oral health among school children. According to research, school based dental sealant programs reduce tooth decay by 60 percent at one-third the cost of a filling.

"Pew's recognition demonstrates how much we can accomplish when we work together to advance children's health," said DHHS Commissioner Nick Toumpas. "This is testament to the hard work of staff in the Office of Medicaid and the Division of Public Health Services Oral Health Program. This is a victory for health advocates in the community, dental programs that help manage the sealant programs, participating dentists and hygienists, and the schools that provide the care."

The oral health policies are administered by the DHHS Division of Public Health and Office of Medicaid. New Hampshire also received an 'A' grade two years ago, based on similar criteria and both times received the Pew Foundation's highest score for policy and sealant program performance. Pew has graded states' oral health policies on certain measures for several years.

  • Pew based the grade on four policy and performance elements:
  • Percentage of high-need schools with sealant programs
  • Unnecessary rules restricting hygienists from applying sealants in schools
  • Participation in the National Oral Health Surveillance System
  • Meeting "Healthy People 2010" sealant objective

Still, many children between the ages of 6 and 9 are without sealants. Sealants are covered by Medicaid and available through school-based sealant programs, in community dental clinics and in local dentists’ offices. The American Dental Association recommends sealants for permanent molars for all children at risk for tooth decay.

For more information about the New Hampshire DHHS Oral Health Program visit http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/bchs/rhpc/oral/index.htm. To read the full Pew report, go to http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/reports/2015/04/states-stalled-on-dental-sealant-programs.

 
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