Tenn. law improves kids' access to dental care

Tennessee legislators have made it easier for more children to have dental care, including dental sealants and fluoride varnish treatments.

Starting in July, an amended law will allow public health hygienists greater flexibility to give preventive dental care, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) noted in a press release.

Some 20% of Americans 65 years and older are edentulous, but in Tennessee the rate is 30%, according to TDH Oral Health Director Suzanne Hayes, DDS.

Currently, Tennessee has 55 dental clinics in 54 counties and reaches other children across the state through its school-based oral health prevention program.

Fluoride varnish applications will cost about $3 through state programs, according to the TDH. The return on investment for every dollar spent on preventing early childhood dental caries will range from $300 to $3,000, the agency noted.

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