Reporter: Oral health has become gateway to other issues on the beat

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Paul Sisson

Paul Sisson

For low-income elders, dental care can be very hard to find. Medicare does not include routine dental benefits and seniors living on low or fixed incomes may lack the money to pay out of pocket for care.

Untreated tooth decay causes pain and contributes to tooth loss, poor nutrition, social isolation and declining overall health.

In San Diego, an innovative nonprofit dental clinic that recently opened in a senior center is aiming to address the problem.

Reporter Paul Sisson, who covers health care for the San Diego Union-Tribune paid a visit and provided readers with an engaging story that captured the spirit of the place and highlighted the deep needs it aims to serve. In this new Q and A, Sisson talks about his work on the dental clinic feature and shares some wisdom on how he stays on top of his busy health care beat.

Related: Bridging the gap between oral health and overall health

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