Virginia receives C+ on dental health report card

A new report suggests that when it comes to oral health, Virginia has room for improvement.

The state earned a C+ on a new report card released by the Virginia Oral Health Coalition, which was compiled by examining data on residents’ oral health.

“(We’re) a really large coalition of partners in the state of Virginia that are working toward oral health and integrating oral health into all aspects of health care, but what we didn’t have were good measures to understand how we are doing,” said Sarah Holland, the coalition’s executive director.

The report card — which was presented Thursday at the annual Oral Health Summit in Richmond — found that only 24 percent of children ages 1 and 2 had a preventive dental visit through Medicaid, and that only 44 percent of pregnant women visited a dentist.

Additionally, only 5 percent of Medicaid pediatric providers applied fluoride varnish last year, a practice that helps prevent tooth decay and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“I was most surprised about the disparities that were related to most of the measures,” Holland said. “I think that tells us as stakeholders that we have an opportunity to really be very targeted in how we approach oral health for the most vulnerable in the commonwealth.”

It took seven months to compile the report by pulling data from various state agencies, such as the Virginia Department of Health and the Department of Medical Assistance Services.

Read the full story at the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia receives C+ on dental health report card – Richmond Times-Dispatch: Health

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