Health Care
2:16 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

RI falls behind on some kids' dental health measures

(PROVIDENCE, RI) A new report from the Pew Center on the States finds that Rhode Island is falling behind when it comes to meet children’s dental health needs.

The state continued to lag on how much it reimburses dentists who see kids enrolled in Medicaid. But Rhode Island's Rite Smiles program won high marks.

Pew tracks each state’s performance against eight benchmarks for dental health. Those benchmarks are policy recommendations the researchers believe lead to healthier teeth in kids. Rhode Island slipped a grade point on one measure – the fact that dental hygienists aren’t allowed to place a dental sealant without a prior exam from a dentist. And the state continued to lag on two other measures, including how much it reimburses dentists who see kids enrolled in Medicaid. But Rhode Island's Rite Smiles program won high marks for expanding access to dental care for low income kids. And the report praised the state for getting fluoridated water to nearly 85 percent of residents.

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