High ranking for seniors’ oral health means Wisconsin is doing a good job, but can do even better

Dr. Tim Durtsche, a La Crosse oral and maxillofacial surgeon and president of the Wisconsin Dental Association, today released the following statement in response to a report by Oral Health America that gave Wisconsin a score of 85 out of 100 and ranked the Badger State fifth in the nation in terms of seniors’ oral health.

“This is good news for Wisconsin, and it shows that efforts by the state and the dental profession to serve populations in need are working. As Oral Health America reports, access to dental care is one of the greatest challenges facing older adults in the United States; it’s good to know that many seniors in the Badger State are getting the quality care they need.

“While Wisconsin is doing a good job, there is more that can be done to reduce barriers to oral health care for our state’s most vulnerable residents. Service in designated Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas – such as rural communities or inner city locations – can certainly be improved. WDA’s ‘Healthy Choices’ proposals include student loan forgiveness and grant programs, as well as other meaningful incentives, for dentists who settle in underserved areas and put oral health care within reach of more Wisconsin seniors.

“The bar is set high, and policymakers and dentists have an opportunity to work together to do an even better job of caring for older adults in Wisconsin. The WDA and its 3,000 members are deeply committed to this effort. We look forward to working with state legislators, Gov. Scott Walker, the Department of Health Services and other senior health advocates to make Wisconsin an even better – and healthier – place to enjoy the golden years.”