Arkansas met four of the eight policy benchmarks for improving children's dental health needs, two more than it met in 2010. The change in grade reflects the fact that in 2009, more than half of the children in Arkansas' Medicaid program received dental services, a notable increase.
The state is poised to make further improvement since three pieces of legislation were signed into law by the governor in early 2011. One of these laws guarantees fluoridated water to communities over a certain size; a second allows medical providers to provide preventive dental health services like fluoride varnish; and a third creates a category of public health dental hygienists who have greater ability to place sealants without a dentist's prior exam.1
1. Arkansas 2011 Acts 89 (http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Acts/Act89.pdf), 90 (http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Acts/Act90.pdf), and 197 (http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Acts/Act197.pdf)