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Improvements in dental care for children in Tennessee

Published On: May 08 2013 08:54:15 PM CDT
Updated On: May 09 2013 04:03:00 PM CDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Recent action by the Tennessee General Assembly will make it easier for more children to have important dental services including dental sealants and topical fluoride varnish treatments.

In a press release, the Tennessee Department of Health says supports dental care for children as a way to help prevent costly, painful dental issues as a person ages.

TDH Oral Health Services Director Suzanne Hayes, DDS says, "while one in five Americans 65 years and older has had all natural teeth extracted, in Tennessee our rate is one in three," She goes on to say "we know there is a correlation between dental care early in life and the condition of teeth in adulthood. The enhanced ability to provide services to children will impact their dental and overall health for decades."

Legislation enacted by the 108th General Assembly and signed by Governor Haslam on April 10, 2013, amends a previous law affecting dental hygienists. The Tennessee Department of Health says effective July 1, 2013; public health hygienists will have more flexibility for performing some preventive dental health services.

Currently TDH has 55 dental clinics in 54 counties and reaches other children across the state through its school-based oral health prevention program.