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Cost-effectiveness of Dental Hygiene Care

[Category: Legislative Updates]

Cost-effectiveness of dental hygiene care
Hygienists should offer a dollar value to preventive dental care
by Howard M. Notgarnie, RDH, EdD

Published in RDH Magazine: Volume 32, Issue 1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes professional dental hygiene care as a cost-effective measure toward health.1 The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reported that 68.5% of adults visited a dentist or dental clinic in 2008, and of those, 69.0% had their teeth cleaned.2 These figures, along with similar findings in other years, indicate that less than half of the U.S. population receives care from a dental hygienist in any given year.

The lack of regular preventive care is consistent with a high prevalence of caries. According to the survey by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, in all but 10 states more than half of the children in third grade have a history of caries, and in all but 11 states fewer than half of the students at that grade level have sealants.2 The CDC estimated that the total cost of U.S. dental care in 2010 was $108 billion.

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