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Letter: Good grades for children’s dental care

Kids in New Hampshire have some of the best access to dental care in the country. This was the conclusion of a recent report from the Pew Charitable Trust called “In Search of Dental Care.” Pew reviewed oral health in all 50 states in terms of access; only Nebraska and New Jersey ranked better than New Hampshire. In the same week the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count showed New Hampshire as the top state for children’s wellbeing.

Obviously, if even 1 percent of kids in our state have difficulty accessing oral health care, we have to work harder. That is why the New Hampshire Dental Society’s 800 member dentists are joining the American Dental Association’s nationwide campaign to address dental health disparities through outreach, education and care. The campaign, “Action for Dental Health: Dentists Making a Difference,” aims to reduce the numbers of adults and children with untreated dental disease through education, prevention and treatment.

The Pew report shows just another way that New Hampshire is taking care of the oral health needs of the children of our state. There are numerous examples of well-run programs around New Hampshire, including dental sealant programs conducted by varying groups of dental providers including public health dental hygienists, dentists, dental assistants and well-organized community groups.

We are making a real difference because teams of people are working hard in many areas of the state. We have seen the folks at Pew assail our state for the past two years, saying not enough was being done to close the gap. I hope that now with Pew’s own numbers we can finally say, through action more than words, we can close the gap ­and keep our state smiling.

Dr. PUNEET KOCHHAR

Rochester

(The writer is president of the New Hampshire Dental Society.)

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