Dental Health

Jason Moon for NHPR

Tooth decay is the leading chronic disease for children in the United States. It’s also one of the easiest to prevent. As NHPR’s Jason Moon reports, one dental hygienist on the Seacoast is finding fun ways to drive home that message to kids.

Jonathan Yeap via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/8tqUkG

By the time the 2016 Olympic opening ceremony kicks off in Rio, ranking rounds for one of the fastest growing sports will already have taken place--archery, not known for its high drama. On today’s show, Zen and the art of Olympic archery.

Then, a few days ago the AP news service blew the top off of a story that's been brewing for a while now. Despite what decades worth of guilt and dental advice might make you think, flossing might not actually be doing much for those pearly whites.

And for this month’s edition of Overheard, we invited NHPR reporter Emily Corwin and Senior Editor for Politics and Public Policy, Dan Barrick to share what they’re listening to.

Courtesy David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons

A bipartisan commission says New Hampshire lawmakers should consider adding comprehensive dental benefits to the state's Medicaid program for adults. The commission, which was created last year to analyze barriers to dental care in New Hampshire, released its final report on Monday.

Ceyhun (Jay) Isik / https://flic.kr/p/cG7qFL

 A survey shows that New Hampshire ranks 43rd in the country for access to fluoride in public drinking water.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only large states like Montana, Alaska, Idaho and Wyoming have lower percentages than New Hampshire.

The survey says less than 390,000 New Hampshire residents — less than half of the 834,000 people on public water systems — have access to fluoridated water.

Six communities have received a Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the CDC — Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Laconia, Lebanon and Manchester.

Army Medicine / Flickr CC

Whether they have insurance or not, many Americans have trouble affording dental care. This leaves many adults -and children- forgoing needed dental care that leads to bigger health problems down the road. But  medical research and many doctors are promoting the idea that insurance for oral health should not be separated from general health insurance, setting the stage for potential reforms to the way we treat the health of our teeth.

David Wilson/Imelda via Flickr CC

As with other health markers, N.H. consistently ranks high in measures of youth dental health and, overall, the state of children's teeth in New Hampshire is strong.

But in some of the state's least affluent areas, health outcomes are generally poor, and dental health is no exception. 

Can Fixing A Child's Environment Help Fix Her Teeth?

May 19, 2015
Jack Rodolico

You probably never would have guessed it, but one of the front lines of public health in New Hampshire is on the second floor of an elementary school in Claremont - in a storage closet. Here a dental hygienist meets with a second grade girl to talk teeth.

Steve Cottrell via Flickr CC

A survey of senior centers in New Hampshire shows that nearly 19 percent of older adults are in need of early or urgent dental care that may be difficult for them to access.

A total of 610 adults age 60 and older were screened last winter and this spring in the survey, which was funded by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and New Hampshire Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services. The survey said 38 of the participants received restorative treatment using state funds.