The Norman Transcript

Headlines

June 17, 2013

State ranks poorly in dental health

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Winfree also said SoonerCare, which is Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, provides limited dental coverage to adults. The program covers teeth cleaning, full exams and fillings for pregnant women. Otherwise, it only pays for emergency teeth extractions.

Another reason for poor dental health in Oklahoma is a shortage of dentists. The state is home to about 2,000 dentists, but most are located in urban areas such as Oklahoma City and Tulsa, creating dental deserts elsewhere. This year the state designated 56 counties as dental health shortage areas; four of the counties don’t have any dentists.

Winfree said addressing the issues is important because oral care is vital to maintaining overall health.

“It just makes you a healthier person because you have a better quality of life,” she said.

Despite the problem, the dental health services’ budget has dropped by nearly 30 percent over the past three years, to $1.2 million. Winfree’s division is using various strategies to address the problems.

One of the most critical is fluoridation of water, considered crucial in preventing tooth decay.

Among the state’s 1,095 community water systems, two-thirds are not fluoridated, according to a 2012 Oklahoma Community Water Fluoridation Plan. Only 53 systems add fluoride to improve health benefits. More than 300 others buy fluoridated water from other systems or use naturally fluoridated water, the plan said.

About 65 percent of Oklahomans receive water from a fluoridated supply, according to a CDC survey. That compares to 74 percent nationally.

“Our department is trying to provide water fluoridation because cities are usually stopping the practice for mechanical or cost reasons,” Winfree said.

Shawnee, McAlester and Okmulgee are among cities that have stopped fluoridation. To combat the trend, the state has stepped up efforts to promote the benefits of fluoridated water and is monitoring fluoride levels.

“Science supports that fluoridation is beneficial, cost-effective and safe to all those who drink fluoridated water,” Oklahoma’s fluoridation plan says.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Coaches Luncheon Mixon question off-limits at coaches luncheon

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived Wednesday at Journey Church....

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mixon will not participate in practice

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today. Freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there. The school announced the decision Wednesday night....

    July 31, 2014

  • Nova Pettigrew Music community bands together to raise money for 2-year-old’s battle with rare form of cancer

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deputies cleared, return to work

    Two deputies involved in a deadly shooting earlier this month are expected to return to work today after being cleared by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office. “They (the Sheriff’s Office) gave me their investigation, I ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Sales tax-free weekend set to begin this weekend

    When stores open Friday morning, shoppers may be waiting. Oklahoma’s annual sales tax holiday is slated to run this weekend with the special exemption beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ending at midnight on Sunday....

    July 31, 2014

  • India landslide kills 21

    NEW DELHI — Rescuers worked in rain today to dig through a remote village in western India where at least 21 people died as a landslide swept away scores of houses, possibly trapping many more people under debris, officials said....

    July 31, 2014

  • Israeli strike hits UN school

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel’s stepped up campaign against ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Busted water main dumps 20 million gallons of water into UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and adjacent garage

    LOS ANGELES — The rupture of a nearly century-old water main that ripped a 15-foot hole through Sunset Boulevard and turned a swath of the University of California, Los Angeles into a mucky mess points to the risks and expense many cities ...

    July 31, 2014

  • GOP-led House gives go-ahead for suit

    WASHINGTON — A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Just a day before ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Randall Lee Sherrill, 34, possession of juvenile pornography · Dewey Leon Kinsey, 37, possession of controlled dangerous ...

    July 31, 2014