Arkansas Law Puts Teeth in New Oral Health Standards in Schools
If you live in Arkansas and are 65 or older, there is close to a one in three chance that you have lost all your natural teeth. Thirty percent of Arkansans in this age group have no teeth, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2002 survey.
In one study on oral health, Arkansas got a C-. The Oral Health America report, published in April 2003, found that while Arkansas improved its overall grade from the previous year, residents of the state--like much of the nation--were having difficulty finding dentists, affording dental insurance, reducing the use of tobacco and providing dental sealants programs for children.
Arkansas Senator Brenda Gullet, a long-time proponent of public health issues, was aware of her state's oral health needs, but it was not until she heard a fellow legislator speak at an NCSL meeting when she became "enlightened" about the profound connection between childhood oral health and chronic diseases.
Raymond Rawson, a Nevada senator and dentist, presented information on the "lifetime of illness children can acquire because of poor oral health."
Fellow Arkansas legislator, Representative Tommy Roebuck, has long been interested in oral health issues for a good reason--he is a dentist himself. …