Category Archives: Oral health

Report shows improvement in dental health but highlights disparities

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: Pedro Presilha via Flickr

Across the U.S., tooth decay remains widespread. Poor and minority Americans continue to be disproportionately burdened by disease. But in recent years, some progress has been made in addressing oral health disparities and reaching vulnerable children with needed dental services, federal data show.

According to newly released findings from the 2011-16 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES): Continue reading

Efforts to expand use of dental therapists making progress

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: Morgan Schwartz via Flickr

Connecticut has joined a growing list of states embracing dental providers as a way to expand access to care.

After a long debate, “a bill to allow the practice of dental therapy passed this year,” reported Ellen Andrews in an end-of-session summary of legislative action published by the nonprofit Connecticut Health Policy Project. Continue reading

Poll results support adding dental coverage to Medicare

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.

Though about 60 million retired and disabled Americans depend upon Medicare for their health care coverage, the federal program has never included routine dental benefits.

A sizeable percentage of likely voters believe that should change, according to the results of a new poll. Continue reading

Congress watch: Why Medicare coverage of unmet needs is so vital

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: John Spade via Flickr

Congress returns from its summer recess with a full agenda. It’s probably not high on its to-do list, but many advocates of older Americans hope it will address several pieces of legislation introduced this year that could help many seniors better afford and access dental care, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

These are items that traditional Medicare doesn’t pay for but would make a world of difference in the health and well-being of older adults. Continue reading

Decline in complete tooth loss for older adults spurs talk about access to 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.

More Americans are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lifetimes, federal research tells us.

Overall, the rate of U.S. adults who have experienced complete tooth loss fell from 9.3% in 2000 to 7% in 2017, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The trend holds true across all age groups, researchers found. Continue reading

Covering a controversial study: How to dig deep on a deadline

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.

From the moment I saw the study — and editorial and editor’s note — among JAMA’s embargoed studies, I knew it would be a doozy. Certain topics arouse controversy simply by their existence, and water fluoridation is very high on that list.

So when I was assigned to write about the JAMA Pediatrics study (Reminder: AHCJ members get free access to the JAMA Network.)  finding a link between prenatal fluoride exposure and reduced IQ in preschoolers, two things went through my mind: One, this is going to be covered horribly by some outlets and likely create unnecessary anxiety among parents, especially pregnant women (who have enough to worry about when it comes to do’s and don’ts). Two, I need to be one of those who gets it right. Continue reading