Category Archives: Oral health

Young father’s unexpected death highlights the dangers of dental infections

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk and his daughters in an undated family photo before his death after complications from a dental infection.

Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk and his daughters in an undated family photo before his death after complications from a dental infection.

The recent story of a young California husband and father who died after suffering complications from a dental problem serves as a sad reminder of the important ties between oral health and overall health.

Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk, 26, a long-haul truck driver, was headed east to New York when he started feeling pain in the lower left side of his mouth.

“He pulled over in Oklahoma to see a dentist, who diagnosed an infection and prescribed antibiotics,” recounted health reporter Sammy Caiola in a Jan. 31 Sacramento Bee story. Continue reading

Certain ethnic groups still underrepresented in dental profession

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: HJ Barraza via Flickr

Photo: HJ Barraza via Flickr

America’s shortage of minority dentists is “large and growing” according to a recent study published in Health Affairs.

It would take nearly 20,000 additional black dentists, more than 31,000 Hispanic dentists and almost 3,000 additional American Indian and Alaska Native dentists to bring minority dentists into parity with their presence in the U.S. population. Among minority dentists, only Asians are overrepresented by percentage in the dental workforce, the study’s authors found. Continue reading

Homeopathic teething tablets under fire

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Ashley Webb via Flickr

Photo: Ashley Webb via Flickr

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week confirmed that laboratory tests found elevated levels of belladonna in samples of homeopathic teething tablets. The FDA urged parents and caregivers to stop giving children the products and safely dispose of any remaining tablets.

Belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade, is a toxic substance and products containing it cause unnecessary health risks for young children, the agency warned in its Jan. 27 announcement. Continue reading

Backers of dental therapist profession find support in national poll

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: John Twohig via Flickr

Photo: John Twohig via Flickr

A national telephone survey conducted on the eve of the 2016 election went beyond the usual queries about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It questioned likely voters about dental care.

The responses serve as a reminder about the barriers millions of Americans face in obtaining oral health services: 34 percent of respondents said they had faced challenges paying for dental care. Continue reading

Calls growing to add dental benefit to Medicare Part B

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Moodboard via Flickr

Photo: Moodboard via Flickr

A quarter of a million Americans are retiring each month. Many are surprised to learn that Medicare does not include coverage for routine dental care. But could the nation’s health insurance program offer dental benefits? Should it?

There are important reasons to consider the idea, says Beth Truett, president and CEO of the nonprofit Oral Health America.

“More people are living longer. More people are keeping their teeth,” said Truett, who was featured in a recent AHCJ webcast. “Oral health is part of overall health.” Continue reading