In Oral Health America’s newly released 2018 A State of Decay report, Alabama rose to No. 29 from No. 50 in the new state-by-state rankings on the status of oral health and outcomes in Americans age 65 and older.
This elevated ranking reflects a joint commitment made by state public health officials, other dental organizations, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry faculty, students and alumni to improve outcomes in this population after an alarming last-place ranking in the previous report.
Oral Health America’s ongoing four-volume report analyzes variables that impact the oral health of senior populations, while also spotlighting the successes and shortcomings of oral health care at the state level. The report encourages states to use the findings to address oral health-related issues in senior citizens and unite advocates to push for national changes that will improve oral health care in all populations.
“The substantial rise in rankings is indicative of a shared commitment made by many in our state to improve oral health outcomes in one of our most vulnerable populations,” said Conan Davis, DMD, assistant dean for UAB’s School of Dentistry Division of Community Collaborations and Public Health. “While Alabama has specific factors that pose challenges for our senior population, including no adult dental benefits in Medicaid and limited access to care in rural populations, the School of Dentistry feels a particular responsibility to lead the way and to provide senior Alabamians unmatched dental resources.”