The neighboring states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and North Dakota have the best dental health in the nation, but Connecticut and Massachusetts break the mid-west logjam, ranking fifth and sixth in a new survey of nearly two dozen dental-health related categories by the financial website WalletHub. Connecticut ranked second in a series of oral health categories and 17th in a group of dental habits and care categories, according to the survey, resulting in the 5th place finish overall. Connecticut and Massachusetts ranked one-two in the highest percentage of adults who visited a dentist in the past year, and Connecticut placed third, after New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, in the highest percentage of adolescents who visited a dentist in the past year.
Connecticut also topped the list in two additional categories: Lowest Percentage of Adults Who Experienced Pain in the Past Year Due to Oral Condition and Lowest Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Among Adolescents. The state also ranked in a tie for third for having the lowest percentage of elderly population with no natural teeth.
Data used to create the ranking were collected from U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Grid, American Dental Association, Health Resources & Services Administration, Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and Oral Health America, according to WalletHub.
With the state’s ranking in the background, the Connecticut Oral Health Initiative (COHI) will host a session on health equity during Oral Health Day at the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 8, from 10 am to 3 pm in the Legislative Office Building.
Connecticut oral health-related organizations will on hand throughout the day to raise awareness and educate decision-makers and the public about policies to improve the oral health of Connecticut residents. The organization’s focus this year is on preserving Medicaid coverage for adults and children, allowing children to remain on their parents' dental insurance until age 26, and integrating oral health into health systems.
Other legislative initiatives include a proposal to increase the number of adults aged 19 to 26 years covered by dental insurance to provide continuity of dental care into adulthood, and another to decrease the incidence of oral and other cancers by decreasing tobacco use by Connecticut residents. By raising the Legal Age For Purchase and Use of Tobacco Products.
COHI leads and collaborates in statewide oral health advocacy efforts; promotes the necessity of oral health to overall health; serves as an expert resource on oral health policy; and publicizes oral health policy analysis and recommendations.
Also at the Capitol, the Department of Public Health is proposing a mandate for dental hygienists to have at least one contact hour in cultural competency prior to the renewal of their license, as part of the commitment to health equity.