Oral Health America released A State of Decay, Vol. IV earlier this month.

And while the report, which provides a state by state analysis of the oral health of older adults, revealed that half of the mainland states received a “poor” ranking, there is a glimmer of hope for states struggling with oral health outcomes.

West Virginia was one of the states that received a poor ranking, in 43rd place.

But the example of Alabama will be heartening to oral health advocates and professionals in West Virginia. A low ranking in the last analysis in 2016, when it was placed 50th, got the attention of state officials, which led to creation of a plan and commitment to goals in five key areas.

The result: in 2018 Alabama was placed 29th, a dramatic improvement and a hopefully example for other states, like West Virginia, Mississippi and New Jersey, that often do poorly in public health studies, that improvement is possible.

Through publication of A State of Decay and provision of guidelines for action, OHA continues to lead the way toward healthier mouths for older adults.

States, advocates, and public health coalitions that share OHA’s commitment can use these recommendations to push forward policies needed to positively impact the health and oral health of older adults.

Read and download the full report at astateofdecay.org.

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