The Oklahoma Oral Health Coalition (OOHC) recently released the 2023 Oklahoma Oral Health Report Card, and when compared to the nation’s performance on 13 key oral health indicators, Oklahoma scores a D.
Created by the DDOK Foundation, OOHC and the Oklahoma Primary Care Association, the report card illustrates the widespread oral health issues in the state. It also provides a framework for discussions on the challenges Oklahomans face in accessing dental care.
“The second Oklahoma Oral Health Report Card offers keen insights into how oral health within our state is progressing,” said Leon Bragg, DDS, chair of the OOHC and past dental director of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. “Comparing our state’s performance on key indicators with national averages is an effective way to illustrate the areas where Oklahoma falls short and helps us identify potential solutions.”
When compared to the 2020 Oklahoma Oral Health Report Card, this year’s findings indicate improvement in the oral health of Oklahoma adults, but a decline in the oral health of Oklahoma children.
Key findings about adults in the 2023 oral health report card include:
- 60 percent of adults ages 18-64 visited the dentist in the last year.
- 40 percent of adults ages 65+ lost six or more teeth due to tooth decay or gum disease.
- 40 percent of pregnant women had their teeth cleaned during pregnancy.
Key findings about children enrolled in SoonerCare (or Medicaid) in the 2023 oral health report card include:
- 15 percent of children ages 1-2 received a preventive dental care visit.
- 45 percent of children ages 3-5 received a preventive dental care visit.
- 45 percent of children ages 1-20 received a preventive dental care visit.
- 9 percent of children ages 6-14 received dental sealants on permanent molars.
“The negative impact of the pandemic era is evident when looking at the percentage of our state’s youth who received dental visits and sealants, both of which are crucial components of children’s dental health,” said DDOK Foundation Director Terrisa Singleton. “Delta Dental of Oklahoma and its foundation recently launched a school-based sealant network to provide dental sealants to students at low-income schools across the state. We look forward to seeing how intervention initiatives like this impact the next Report Card.”
Our DDOK Foundation works to lower barriers to dental care in Oklahoma by producing and supporting programs aimed at providing oral health education and dental care to those in need. For more information on work of the DDOK Foundation, visit DDOKFoundation.org.