Oral Health is no longer a top priority among Hoosiers, and the IDA has a plan to change that.
After recognizing the need to encourage healthier habits across the state, IDA set out to identify logical solutions for the current problems in oral health care. A five-point strategy was developed and, with help from a grant from the ADA, the Indiana Plan for Oral Health came to life.
The Indiana Plan for Oral Health outlines the steps IDA dentists need to take to work toward an overall healthier Indiana.
The first step is re-establishing dentists as primary healthcare providers who, along with family doctors, work as experts and advice-givers to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Next, we must show people the value of ongoing dental care. 46 percent of Hoosiers cited cost as a reason for not going to the dentist, yet wellness visits are less expensive than dental neglect.
We must make dental IQ a priority. 26 percent of Hoosiers are more afraid of going to the dentist than suffering highly preventable dental disease and decay. We must educate people about oral health and its role in overall wellness.
We must also increase access to and utilization of oral healthcare. Among Hoosiers, only 44 percent of children with Medicaid, 64 percent of children with private insurance, and 58 percent of adults with private insurance go to the dentist. We must work to put at least one dentist in every county, increase loan forgiveness incentives for dentists practicing in underserved areas and create a plan for aging Hoosiers.
We must fight for fluoridation. It costs around $1-2 per person annually to fluoridate water, but nearly $125 to fill a single cavity. We must encourage counties to properly fluoridate and to make science-based policy decisions.
These are times that call for action, urgency, and purpose. Dentists have a natural inclination toward making a difference and being leaders within their communities and among their peers. Therefore, the Indiana Plan for Oral Health not only presents the current problems, but also logical solutions and paths to address these problems.
The Plan targets dentists and lawmakers as well as other stakeholders concerned with Indiana oral health such as public health officials, dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental educators, state agencies, etc.
The Plan aims to educate, engage, and present several “What can we do now” calls to action.
The complete Indiana Plan for Oral Health is available for downloading: click here.