Tag Archives: adults

New tip sheet can assist your coverage of threats to Medicaid dental benefits

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 by U.S. Pacific Fleet via Flickr

Roughly 38 million low-income adults across the United States rely upon Medicaid for a broad range of health care benefits. But not all of them can count on obtaining even the most basic dental services.

While children are entitled to dental care under Medicaid, dental benefits for adults are only considered an option. Under federal law, each state determines the scope of its adult dental coverage. Continue reading

Talk about health care costs often omits dental spending

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.

Adult dental visits are on the decline. Overall spending on dental care has been flat for several years.

Both trends apparently began before the recession hit in 2008 and experts at the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Resources Center are pondering the factors driving them.

Dental care often gets left out of larger discussions about health care. And dental spending represents a small part of American health care spending. The $108 billion spent on dental care in 2011 represented just 4 percent of health care spending overall, down from a peak of 4.5 percent of national health expenditures in 2000, the ADA found.

Still, I am curious about whether the slowdown in the dental economy might get a mention in a July 11 online talk show sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

The program, “Bending the Cost Curve? Making Sense of the Slowdown in the Growth of U.S. Health Care Spending” will feature experts that include IHI senior fellow and former CMS administrator Donald Berwick, economist David Cutler and Harvard health policy expert Amitabh Chandra. (It’s scheduled for 2-3 p.m. ET; sign up to listen.) Continue reading

Findings call biannual teeth cleanings into question

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.

Image by ktpupp via flickr.

New research is suggesting that while people at high-risk of periodontal disease should visit the dentist at least twice a year, others at lower risk may be fine with an annual checkup.

The new findings, just published in the Journal of Dental Research, raise questions about the standard six-month recall for all adults, suggesting instead an approach that stratifies care according to risk. In an era where health costs are skyrocketing, the researchers say their findings could cut wasteful spending and better target care.

“Prevention reduces tooth loss, but little evidence supports biannual preventive care for all adults,” concluded the researchers, led by William Giannobile, D.D.S., M.S., D.M.Sc., chairman of the department of periodontics at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, in the article “Patient Stratification for Preventive Care in Dentistry.” Continue reading