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Healthy Communities

Medical and Dental Professionals

The ADH has developed a number of new statewide dental initiatives through various partnerships. Read our latest Arkansas Oral Health Surveillance Plan, which outlines our initiatives to promote oral health in Arkansas. A few are highlighted below.

Interprofessional Care 

Many Arkansans have limited access to routine preventive care, which can lead to untreated decay. In 2011, Arkansas passed important legislation to combat this issue, Act 89 and Act 90.

Act 89: Dental Hygiene Collaborative Care

Arkansas has a total of 75 counties, 54 of which are rural. Sixty percent of the state’s dentists practice in just eight of the state’s 75 counties, although these eight counties have only 40 percent of the state’s population. Nineteen Arkansas counties are designated whole or in part Dental Health Professions Shortage Areas (HPSA). Five counties have no dentists at all.

Arkansas Dental Health Professional Shortage Area Map

Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas
















Key Points:

Making It Happen

Those hygienists wishing to practice Dental Hygiene Collaborative Care in conjunction with their consulting dentist must apply for permits from both the ADH’s Office of Oral Health and the Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners.


Act 90: Fluoride Varnish Provider Expansion

Despite advancements in water fluoridation, patient education and the dental workforce, an increase in childhood tooth decay still exists. In response, the United States Preventive Services Task Force proposed the application of fluoride varnish by medical providers. In 2011, the Arkansas legislature passed Act 90 allowing Arkansas physicians, nurses, and other licensed health care professionals in addition to dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants to apply and get reimbursed for fluoride varnish. Medical providers can serve as the first line of defense against cavities since they tend to see children more often and sooner than dentists. Here’s a video on how fluoride varnish is applied at a well-child visit.


Paint A Smile

The Office of Oral Health has developed a program called Paint A Smile to introduce fluoride varnishes to medical personnel in Arkansas. This is an ideal time for medical personnel to perform oral risk assessments, apply fluoride varnish, and encourage the caregivers to connect with a dental home for routine dental care.

paint a smileThe program goals are to:

Fluoride Varnish Training

To start applying fluoride varnish in your office please contact us HERE to schedule a free, on-site training with one of our knowledgeable Smile Ambassadors. This training will provide your office with:

You can also become certified to apply fluoride varnish through Arkansas Train, an online training network. Please review these instructions and go to to complete the required course.

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867