Bulletin of Dental Education

Dentistry in the News - June 2011

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 Pew Children’s Dental Campaign Updates Report 

In an update of a report first issued in 2010, the Pew Children's Dental Campaign published The State of Children’s Dental Health: Making Coverage Matter on May 24, 2011. This new report is intended to assess states' ability to serve insured and soon-to-be-insured children.

The Pew Children’s Dental Campaign assigned a “grade” to each U.S. state based on these benchmarks:

  1. Having sealant programs in at least 25% of high-risk schools
  2. Allowing a hygienist to place sealants in a school sealant program without requiring a dentist’s prior exam
  3. Providing optimally fluoridated water to at least 75% of residents who are served by community water systems
  4. Meeting or exceeding the 2007 national average (38.1%) of Medicaid-enrolled children ages 1 to 18 receiving dental services
  5. Paying dentists who serve Medicaid-enrolled children at least the 2008 national average (60.5%) of dentists’ median retail fees
  6. Reimbursing medical care providers through its state Medicaid program for preventive dental health services
  7. Authorizing a new type of primary-care dental provider
  8. Submitting basic screening data to the national database that tracks oral health progress

To access the full report, the methodology and the fact sheets for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, visit www.pewcenteronthestates.org/dental/makingcoveragematter.

 Tooth Decay Linked to Acidic Mouth 

Dr. Carole A. Palmer, faculty member at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and Chair of the ADEA Section on Biochemistry, Nutrition, and Microbiology, was recently quoted by WCVB-TV, an ABC station in Boston, about tooth decay.

WCVB-TV noted that dentists have long warned that excessive sugar intake can increase the risk of caries. "Believe it or not, that whole thing goes back to acid. Tooth decay results from acid," said Dr. Palmer.

She pointed out that using fluoride toothpaste, drinking through a straw, or eating foods that increase saliva will help to stop the acid reaction. “Peanuts and nuts, chewing nuts, also have been shown in some studies to have a beneficial effect," she said.

Visit www.thebostonchannel.com to learn more.

 Women Take Better Care of Teeth and Gums 

A study published in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of Periodontology found that women are almost twice as likely to have received a regular dental check-up in the past year. In addition, women were more likely to schedule recommended treatments. Women in the study also had better indicators of periodontal health, including lower incidence of dental plaque, calculus, and bleeding on probing.

The study included over 800 participants between the ages of 18 and 19. Participants were asked to complete a written questionnaire concerning lifestyle, dental knowledge, dental attitude, and oral health behaviors. In addition, the participants underwent an oral examination to assess for indicators of periodontal disease.

Among the media outlets covering the story were the Sacramento Bee newspaper and DrBicuspid.com.

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