Just the idea of the dentist turns many adults into petulant children. Reasonable grown-ups leave that reminder postcard pinned up on the bulletin board for months before shuffling to the telephone like a mopey teenager to make the appointment.
Your mouth can tell you a lot about your overall health.Troubled teeth and gums aren't always just a dental problem. Sometimes they indicate deeper issues, and dentists are increasingly picking up the clues.
A nation's oral health is a sign of its general well being and prosperity. Today, the government released a report - which shows that Americans have healthier teeth and gums than ever before. But the report -by the U-S Surgeon General--also describes a "silent epidemic" of dental diseases-ranging from cavities to throat cancer--among certain groups of Americans.
NPR's Nancy Cohen reports only one out of four children in Massachusetts receiving Medicaid get regular dental care. Some healthcare advocates hope to force the state to improve the benefits for children by suing the state.
Arielle Levin Becker of the Connecticut Mirror details how adult dental coverage was left out of health reform:
Teaser: Congress was days away from passing health reform this spring when the line began forming in Middletown. Hundreds of people waited hours, some overnight, for a chance at a free visit with a dentist. And by the time it was done, the Connecticut Mission of Mercy free dental clinic attracted more than 2,000 people over two days, a small fraction of the estimated 1 million Connecticut residents without dental insurance.
The founder of the Children's Dental Health Project talks candidly about the what progress has been made in improving access to care for underserved children.
INSIDE DENTISTRY (ID): Dr. Edelstein, your contributions are extensive, but none as large as the Children's Dental Health Project (CDHP), which you founded in 1997. What led you to develop that public policy group?
On July 13, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its report Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations, which discusses the barriers to accessing oral health services for populations such as Medicaid beneficiaries, children, low income families, and ethnic minorities. In addition to examining hte underlying problems that prevent millions of Americans from getting the dental care they need, the report makes