Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

Oral Health in Arkansas

Oral health is a vital aspect of the overall health of Arkansans. Although preventable, tooth decay is a chronic disease affecting all age groups. In fact, it is the most common chronic disease of childhood. The burden of this disease is far worse for those who have limited access to prevention and treatment services. Left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain and tooth loss. Among children, untreated decay has been associated with difficulty eating, sleeping, learning and proper nutrition. Untreated decay and tooth loss among adults can also have negative effects on one’s self-esteem and employability.

ACHI has long been a proponent of fluoridated community drinking water and dental sealants for children—a combination with the potential to prevent virtually all tooth decay. During the 88th General Assembly in 2011, three acts were passed to improve oral health and access to oral health services in Arkansas.

  •  Act 89 creates a collaborative care permit program to allow dental hygienists to perform certain procedures without the direct supervision of a dentist.
  • Act 90 allows physicians and nurses who have completed training through the Arkansas Department of Health to apply fluoride varnish to children's teeth.
  • Act 197 requires municipalities with 5,000 or more citizens to maintain fluoride content in drinking water as established by the Arkansas Department of Health. This is assisted by a grant program funded by Delta Dental of Arkansas to help municipalities purchase equipment needed for water fluoridation.

Resources

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Legislation

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Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
1401 West Capitol
Suite 300 (Victory Building)
Little Rock, AR 72201