Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 9, 2013

W.Va. gets 'C' grade in tooth decay study


Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A nonprofit group gives West Virginia a "C'' grade for its stategy to prevent tooth decay in children.

The Washington, D.C.-based Pew Center on the States issued the report Tuesday. It graded every state on efforts to improve access to dental sealants for low-income children.

The study noted West Virginia fell short of a goal to provide the clear plastic sealants in most school-based programs and had some restrictions on dental hygienists' abilities to apply sealants in schools.

The center says sealants can protect healthy teeth while preventing a cavity from forming when applied during the early stages of tooth decay. Typically, sealants are first applied to children's molars shortly after their permanent teeth appear.