Oregon meets five of the eight policy benchmarks aimed at addressing children's dental health needs, one more than it met in Pew's 2010 report. The state improved by achieving the threshold for the percentage of Medicaid-enrolled children receiving dental care. However, Oregon is one of only nine states that do not provide fluoridated water to at least half of their citizens.
The state reduced adult dental benefits in 2010.1 This change could have a negative impact on children, as research indicates that parents who visit dentists are more likely to arrange care for their kids.2 On a positive note, Oregon is one of only a handful to have sealant programs in more than half of its high-risk schools. Legislation was proposed in the 2011 session to create an advanced dental hygiene practitioner, whose duties would include filling cavities.3
1. V. Smith, et. al. , “Hoping for Economic Recovery, Preparing for Health Reform: A Look at Medicaid Spending, Coverage and Policy Trends Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011,” Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, September 2010; http://www.kff.org/medicaid/upload/8105.pdf (accessed October 20, 2010).
2. “Children More Likely to Visit the Dentist If Their Parents Do, Too,” ScienceDaily, February 16. 2010. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201091634.htm (accessed April 2011).
3. Oregon Senate Bill 227, http://www.leg.state.or.us/11reg/measpdf/sb0200.dir/sb0227.intro.pdf (accessed February 24, 2011).