Vermont meets five of the eight policy benchmarks aimed at addressing children's dental health needs. The state reports that its Tooth Tutor school-linked sealant program reaches more than half of its high-risk schools.1 Yet 43 percent of children covered by Vermont's Medicaid program went without dental care. The state has received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve the dental health of its citizens.2
With 62 percent of Vermont's dentists over the age of 50 and the existing shortage of dentists, the future of the state's oral health workforce remains a concern.3 Vermont health advocates, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, are attempting to broaden the state's workforce by introducing new practitioners known as dental therapists.4
1. Pew Center on the States survey of state dental directors, communication with Dr. Patrick Rowe, December 21, 2010.
2. “CDC -Funded States” http://www.cdc.gov/OralHealth/state_programs/cooperative_agreements/index.htm, (accessed October 20, 2010).
3. Vermont Department of Health, “2009 Dentist Survey Statistical Report,” 4, http://healthvermont.gov/research/HlthCarePrvSrvys/documents/dds09bk.pdf, (accessed March 15, 2011).
4. K. Reincke and D. Jordan, “W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports community-led efforts in five states to increase oral health care access by adding dental therapists to the new team,” W.K. Kellogg Foundation, November 17, 2010.