Category Archives: Oral health

Passage of Dental Health Act a rare act of bipartisanship

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.

The Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 has been described as a modest piece of legislation.

But supporters have also hailed the measure as a heartening acknowledgment by federal legislators of the need to respond to the long-unmet dental needs of millions of Americans. In a rare show of bipartisanship, Congress last week passed the legislation, which is headed to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. Continue reading

New research highlights gulf between primary care, dental care

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.

Photo: Minh-Kiet Callies via Flickr

A pediatrician sees a child with untreated tooth decay, but doubts a dentist will be available in the child’s community. The pediatrician does not write a referral.

A dentist notices a patient’s suspicious oral lesion, but fails to follow up. Care is delayed.

A pregnant woman with an infected tooth is advised to seek dental care but has no regular oral health provider. She ends up in an emergency room where her underlying dental problem remains unresolved.

Continue reading

Event provides perspectives on California’s health policy landscape

Emily Willingham

About Emily Willingham

Emily Willingham (@ejwillingham) is AHCJ's core topic leader on the social determinants of health. She is a science journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and Forbes, among others, and co-author of "The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Guide to Your Child's First Four Years."

Photo: Elliot Margolies via Flickr

Health Affairs held an October event in Sacramento on California’s health policy landscape (also available as a podcast).

Here are some highlights from the panelists, all of whom are excellent potential sources for stories about health care policy in California and around the nation: Continue reading

Refugees face special challenges in maintaining oral health

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.

Photo: John M via Flickr

Among the many needs of refugees newly-arrived in the United States, dental care can be a particularly difficult and pressing one to obtain.

Fleeing lives of repression and trauma, some refugees have never had access to routine oral care. Continue reading

Report: Pregnant women have harder time obtaining dental care, regardless of income

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.

Photo: NIAID via Flickr

There is a shortage of state and national data on the subject, but studies suggest that women face unique barriers in obtaining dental services during pregnancy, according to a new issue brief from the nonprofit Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP).

Experts agreed that “preventive, diagnostic, and restorative dental treatment is safe throughout pregnancy and is effective in improving and maintaining oral health.” Continue reading

New report lays out challenges in expanding practice of dental hygienists

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.

Photo: Conor Lawless via Flickr

An estimated 61 percent of low-income children — roughly 6.5 million kids — lack dental sealants that could help protect their teeth from decay, according to federal research.

School sealant programs have been shown effective in getting preventive treatments to children who might otherwise go without. Continue reading