Category Archives: Oral health

Study of decade of data backs argument for community water fluoridation

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: Jonathan Cohen via Flickr

Children living in counties with fluoridated water have significantly less tooth decay than those living in counties that lack water fluoridation programs, according to a newly published large-scale study.

Reduced decay rates were most pronounced in the primary teeth of children living in fluoridated counties. Yet community water fluoridation (CWF) also was credited with conferring a meaningful level of protection to the permanent teeth of children and adolescents. Continue reading

Virginia Beach dentist helps reveal disease cluster among colleagues

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: Damien Walmsley via Flickr

In a recent piece for the Virginian-Pilot, reporter Elizabeth Simpson told the story of a local dentist whose hunch about his rare illness helped reveal a troubling disease cluster among fellow dental professionals.

It was four years ago that Virginia Beach dentist Robert Pellerin was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a mysterious and incurable ailment that scars and hardens the tissues of the lungs. Continue reading

New state-by-state report card rates oral health among seniors

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: Rob! via Flickr

Getting dental care to America’s elders is a big challenge.

Medicare has never covered routine dental benefits. Medicaid dental benefits for poor adults (including more than 7 million seniors) are scant in many states.

Out-of-pocket costs and problems with mobility can complicate the search for care. As a result, many seniors delay dental visits. Disease progresses. Tooth loss is a grim indicator of the problem. One-third of older Americans have lost six or more teeth, according to a new report by the nonprofit Oral Health America (OHA), based in Chicago. Continue reading

Want to up your game on covering clinical studies? Try a MOOC!

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

As you report on medical studies more and more, you probably start to notice patterns in the parts that you find confusing or difficult to parse. You start to realize where you need the most help in understanding a study, or perhaps you know you need to refine your skills but aren’t sure how.

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are a great way to sharpen some skills and learn some new ones. Continue reading

Federal data brief updates on decay rates among U.S. children

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.

Eleanor Fleming

The good news: In recent years, tooth decay rates have significantly decreased for American children.

Overall, 43.1 percent of American children between the ages of 2 and 19 experienced decay in primary and permanent teeth in 2015-16, down from 50 percent reported in 2011-12. Continue reading