NH dentists want MDs' help

Pediatricians should offer more dental services and communities should fluoridate their water, the New Hampshire Dental Society is arguing in a new report, according to the Boston Globe.

A recent survey found that 12% of New Hampshire third graders have untreated caries.

The society is supporting a proposed state commission that would look for ways to get pediatricians and family doctors to evaluate young patients' oral health, apply fluoride varnish, and refer them to dentists, said the report.

The report also calls on dentists to collaborate with primary care doctors, hospitals, and obstetricians in teaching parents of young children the importance of an examination in the first year, the Globe reported.

In addition, the society wants more community water fluoridation; currently only 40% of New Hampshire residents who get water from public sources are getting fluoride in that water, the Globe reported. By comparison, the rates for New England, Connecticut, and Maine are over 80%, and Massachusetts and Vermont are around 60%.

While the number of dentists in the state has increased by a third in the past decade, some people can't get dental care because of transportation or language barriers, the article said.

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