November 2016 This webcast featured Beth Truett, president and chief executive officer of Oral Health America, a national advocacy organization that is focused upon improving the oral health of older Americans. She talked about a growing push to add a dental benefit to Medicare and the findings of new research by her group on the oral health of multigenerational "grandfamilies."
February 2016 This webcast features the team responsible for the recent seven-part Deadly Dentistry series featured in The Dallas Morning News. Reporter Brooks Egerton will talk about the deaths he investigated and the national pattern he described "in which state dental enforcers ignore many malpractice cases and leave the public in the dark.”
Collaborator and data journalist Daniel Lathrop will talk about state-by-state findings that were part of the series.
January 2015 In advance of Children’s Dental Health Month, experts discussed the latest research on oral health and how it may impact policy in the states.
Shelly Gehshan, director of children's dental policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts, provided perspective on oral health programs that are making a difference and the issues that may provide barriers to improving dental health.
Stories included how a program in North Carolina has improved children’s oral health by utilizing doctors to help apply fluoride varnish. Gehshan also discussed the benefits of dental sealant programs and some of the barriers at the state level that prevent these programs from reaching more children.
October 2014 Community water fluoridation has been hailed as one of the public health triumphs of the 20th century. For more than 65 years, communities across the United States have been supplementing naturally occurring fluoride in water supplies to promote oral health. At what are considered optimum levels, numerous studies have shown fluoride reduces cavities. At the same time, critics continue to fight water fluoridation efforts, armed with papers they say highlight the dangers of fluoride.
With battles playing out in communities from Alabama to Oregon, what do reporters need to know about the science and pseudo-science behind water fluoridation? Our webcast features Shelly Gehshan, director of children's dental policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Mary Otto, AHCJ's oral health core topic leader.
May 2014 Studies show that seniors in nursing homes often go without dental care. The lack of care can take a devastating toll on health and quality of life and impacts seniors who have their natural teeth as well as those who don't.
Our panel of experts looked at the need for oral health services in nursing homes, some steps that are being taken to get this care to patients and shared stories and resources for reporters.
October 2013 States are tackling the challenges of offering dental benefits on their exchanges. What services are they offering? Are they affordable? Are families buying them and will they know how to use them?
As for Medicaid expansions, how are qualifying kids who need coverage going to get it?
Do states have strategies for guiding new families to care in places where there is a short supply of dentists?
Video & audio
The Santa Teresa Water Treatment Plant is adding two 6,000 gallons tanks in order to add fluoride for parts of San Jose's drinking water in San Jose, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2016. The move comes several years after a push by dentists, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, who contend that fluoride can help reduce high rates of cavities, particularly in low-income children with limited access to dental care. In 2011, they persuaded directors of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the area’s wholesale water provider, to vote 7-0 for the $6.2 million project to retrofit the district’s three drinking-water treatment plants.
A network of children’s dental clinics accused of pushing unnecessary procedures on kids and using tainted water in dental procedures is also the recipient of millions of taxpayer dollars annually from the state’s insurance program for low-income patients, an investigation by CBS2’s David Goldstein has uncovered.
In southern California, the Gary and Mary West Senior Center has opened a new senior-focused dental clinic at the center. The program is designed to serve low-income seniors living on less than $850 per month. In cases where the government-funded Denti-Cal program doesn’t cover the entire bill, the clinic’s seniors are charged on a sliding fee scale.
The Deadly Triangle: Dentists, Drugs and Dependence
This June 2016 report from NBC News highlights the link between prescriptions of opioids to treat dental pain amid a skyrocketing rate of opioid addiction. Kate Snow and Parminder Deo report that some dental schools are changing their training: "At the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, students are trained to give their surgical patients a detailed explanation of the best way to take and dispose of medication. They write two-week prescriptions for powerful opioids that are not refillable."
This July 29, 2016, piece, from WTVD-Raleigh-Durham, N.C., is part of the wide coverage of a free dental clinic that was held by NC Missions of Mercy in the town of Fuquay-Varina. Reporter Gloria Rodriguez talks to volunteers and patients waiting in line. They discuss the unmet dental needs of adults in the state.
Daisy Lynn Torres suffered complications from anesthesia while undergoing a procedure at an Austin dental office in the spring of 2016, a medical examiner recently concluded.
The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners has opened an investigation into the death of the 14-month old girl.
Meanwhile, a forensic dental examiner who reviewed Daisy’s records at the request of the medical examiner’s office raised questions about whether the child even needed treatment in the first place.
Soda Tax Passes in Philadelphia
Forty times, city or state governments had proposed taxes on sugary soft drinks, failing each time. Then, in 2014, Berkeley, Calif., passed such a tax, but most people saw it as an aberration. Several measures, including one in New York, never won much support.
In June 2016, a measure to tax sweetened drinks passed in Philadelphia, one of the country’s largest cities — and also one of its poorest. Indeed, raising revenue was the winning argument in Philadelphia.
The advocates who have pushed for the policy say the victory is a sign of growing public acceptance of soft drink taxes and presages more such measures around the country. Though city officials didn’t talk much about the health consequences of soda, experts said that sugary drinks’ increasingly bad reputation made it an appropriate political target.
Vermont debating use of dental therapists
Stewart Ledbetter of WPTZ in Vermont reports on that state’s efforts to expand access to dental care by allowing dental therapists to practice under the supervision of a dentist. Dentists fear it could create a “two-tier” system in the state while others say the state already has a “two-tier” system: those that have access to dental care and those who do not.
Program integrates medical, dental care for the needy
A Colorado program brings free dental services to existing medical clinics serving low-income and needy populations. This piece from KUSA-Denver discusses the stresses that refugees face, cultural issues that may affect dental care and access to care.
"We're working with 16 different medical clinics around the state bringing hygienists into those clinics," Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation Executive Director Barbara Springer said. "This is really a groundbreaking project because it's not being done anywhere else."
The Dallas Morning News' Brooks Egerton discusses "Deadly Dentistry," his report on the number of deaths that occur in dentists' chairs. A dental patient dies about every other day in America, according to a first-of-its-kind estimate by The Dallas Morning News. It is surely a rough calculation. It is based on data from one state, Texas. And we have no way to know, for example, whether patients here enter dental offices with more health risks than patients elsewhere, or if dentists here engage in riskier practices than others. Why estimate? Because many state governments, which are supposed to oversee dentists, have failed to keep meaningful statistics.
KSHB-Kansas City, Mo., reports that EPA inspections of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Volker Campus and Dental School in Kansas City, Mo., revealed violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) related to the storage and handling of hazardous waste, according to a news release from the EPA.
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling revealed that the type of cancer he was battling -- squamous cell carcinoma, a type of mouth cancer – and detailed the painful treatment and recovery process that caused him to lose 75 pounds. Telling his story for the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, Schilling said he believes that a 30-year habit of chewing tobacco is what caused the cancer. Red Sox manager John Farrell noted how the use of smokeless tobacco is not prohibited on the big-league level, protected by the players' collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball.
Mitch Zeller, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, speaks about findings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey. This is the first time since the survey started collecting data on e-cigarettes in 2011 that e-cigarette use has surpassed use of every other tobacco product overall, including conventional cigarettes. E-cigarettes were the most used tobacco product for non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic other race while cigars were the most commonly used product among non-Hispanic blacks.
KNVX-Phoenix reports that the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners has taken action against hundreds of dentists but the vast majority of board actions are classified as “non-discipline” and are essentially hidden from the public. The investigation uncovered dentists practicing in Arizona who have lost their licenses in other states, criminal backgrounds, drug offenses and sex crime arrests.
KMSP-Minneapolis/St. Paul reported on the "Give Kids A Smile" program that provides many kids from struggling families with free dental care at the University of Minnesota.
Cleaning, fillings, and other basic services are offered at no cost thanks to a collaboration between the Minnesota Dental Foundation, volunteer dentists, and donations.
According to the report, "Last year, 170 kids received more than $144,000 worth of dental care as part of 'Give Kids A Smile' at the University of Minnesota alone, and organizers expect those numbers to be matched this year."
On Sept. 19 and 20, thousands of people flocked to Mission of Mercy, a free dental clinic in College Park, Md. On the clinic's first day, volunteer providers treated over 1,000 patients who could not afford traditional dental care or hadn't had dental care in years. Mission of Mercy is a partnership between Catholic Charities and the University of Maryland. It was inspired by 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, who died after suffering an untreated tooth infection.
As part of a series on the importance of oral health for children broadcast during National Children's Dental Health Month, Dr..Celeste Ziara, dental director at Three Lower Counties Community Health Centers spoke about proper brushing on WMDT-TV in Salisbury MD. The clip is from the show “Good Morning Delmarva,” that serves the eastern peninsula of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
This consumer-oriented video from the American Dental Association discusses the use of sealants to prevent cavities. It explains what sealants are, why and when they typically are applied and where they are applied.
Complaints are piling up against a Hilo, Hawaii, dentist a month after a young mother went into a coma under his care, KITV reporter Lara Yamada reported on April 17. The state is now investigating a dozen complaints about the dentist. Yamada reports that he got his Hawaii medical license in 2001 and as a dentist in 2005. At the time, only a regional exam – not a national test – was required. The Hawaii Dental Association says, “Over our objections, the legislature created a loophole in 2005 that allowed several dentists to come to Hawaii and set up a practice, without going through a rigorous exam."
These videos feature state governors and Sesame Street characters Rosita and Abby Cadabby. The messages were filmed at the National Governors Association (NGA) 2014 Winter Meeting in February as part of a collaboration between the NGA and Sesame Workshop.
Stephen Grimsby of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry appeared on KSTP to share more information about Give Kids a Smile, a statewide charitable program that provides free dental care to children under 18-years-old.
School of Dentistry faculty and students volunteer their time to offer exams, cleanings, composite fillings, and other services free of charge.
Nana Ohkawa of KITV-Honolulu reports on Finley Boyle, a 3-year-old girl who died after being sedated in a dentist's office. Boyle lapsed into a coma and her family's attorney said she was in a persistant vegetative state.
Also according to the attorney: "Finley was getting 10 different procedures, four which were a type of root canal. And says she was given five drugs in very excessive doses, and adding to the problem, she wasn't monitored throughout the procedure."
WSYX- Columbus, Ohio, raises questions about the lack of standards for dental labs in the state. Tom Sussi looks into a cluttered, yet legal basement lab uncovered as the result of a police investigation, then visits a larger and more modern lab and asks a state lawmaker why Ohio doesn’t do more to regulate dental labs and the people who work in the industry?
Dr. Culberson Boren wants your children's Halloween candy. "A lot of people are trying to get guns off the street," he says. "We're trying to get candy off the street." It wouldn't be Halloween without lots of candy. But, dentists and orthodontists say those sweets can cause serious problems for your children's teeth. Boren gives kids $1 for every pound of candy they bring in after Halloween.