The Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) Office of Oral Health (OOH) has made strides in improving the oral health of Arkansans. Yet, over 60% of Arkansans have evidence of cavities. Arkansas 3rd graders are in the highest national percentiles for dental decay and the lowest percentiles for dental sealants. Stronger action is needed to reduce the burden of oral disease.
Component 1 includes three goals: 1) expanding school-based dental sealant programs that serve high risk children by strengthening established partnerships with existing dental sealant programs and school-based health clinics; 2) increasing Arkansans’ access to fluoridated drinking water by establishing a fluoride equipment monitoring program for community water fluoridation systems, including support for equipment repair/replacement, and educating the public and water system operators about the safety and benefits of fluoridated water; and 3) strengthening the state’s oral health surveillance system by updating the oral health burden report and surveillance plan, creating a data management plan to help monitor progress on Arkansas-specific Healthy People 2020 oral health goals, conducting Basic Screening Surveys to monitor childhood decay and sealant rates, and creating an Oral Health Data Deck of current statistical data in a ready-to-use format for presentations, meetings, and program planning.
OOH will capture Component 1 program outcomes using surveys, dental sealant program documentation, water fluoridation reporting system data, dental screening documentation, and Medicaid data. Anticipated outcomes include: increasing the number of high risk schools with dental sealant programs; increasing the number of children aged 6-14 receiving sealants on one or more of their permanent molars through school sealant programs; decreasing dental caries experience among 3rd grade children; decreasing untreated decay among 3rd grade children; increasing dental sealant prevalence among 3rd grade children; increasing sealant use among children aged 6-14 enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP Medicaid Expansion; increasing the percentage of Arkansans served by optimally fluoridated community water systems; increasing the percentage of adjusted water systems that maintain optimal fluoridation levels; and producing and disseminating oral health surveillance documents.
Over half of Arkansan adults have uncontrolled hypertension. There is a close association between oral disease and hypertension, and both can easily go undetected until ill health warrants a visit with a healthcare provider. OOH and the ADH Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Branch will collaborate to develop and implement a bidirectional referral system between dental and primary care practices. The proposed synergistic system includes two goals: 1) early recognition, consulting, and referral of patients with high blood pressure detected in a dental practice to the patient’s primary care physician and 2) reciprocal referrals from medical practices to dental homes for the management of dental diseases.
OOH will capture Component 2 program outcomes to include: decreasing the percentage of adults with uncontrolled hypertension (HTN) in dental clinics; increasing the percentage of adults screened in dental clinics for hypertension; increasing the percentage of patients in dental clinics identified with high blood pressure (BP); increasing the percentage of patients identified in dental clinics with high BP that are referred to medical practices; increasing the percentage of adults with hypertension awareness in dental clinics; and increasing the number of adults reached for coordinated oral health and HTN screening and uncontrolled HTN awareness messages in dental clinics.