Poor Americans bear more than their share of oral disease. School children from low-income homes are more than twice as likely to suffer from tooth decay as their more affluent peers, according to federal data.
While Medicaid entitles poor children to dental care, adult dental benefits are treated as optional under the program. It is estimated that the majority of the nation’s 60 million elderly and/or disabled Medicare beneficiaries and dentally uninsured. Continue reading
Across America, dentists write about 10% of all antibiotic prescriptions, data show, making them the top specialty prescribers of antibiotics in the U.S. one recent year.
But do the benefits of all these prescriptions outweigh their potential for harm? Amid concerns about antibiotic resistance – and the spread of Clostridioides difficile, a bacterium that causes antibiotic-associated colitis – researchers are saying “no.” Continue reading
During a two-week U.S. fact-finding tour, Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said he observed scenes of suffering from coast to coast: in homeless encampments in California, in storm-ravaged enclaves in Puerto Rico, and in marginalized communities of the deep South and West Virginia.
A shortage of healthcare, infrastructure and sanitation services in low-income and minority communities are taking a serious toll, Alston said during a Dec. 15 press conference in Washington, D.C., at the conclusion of the tour. Continue reading
To help ensure a lifetime of better oral health, experts recommend that babies receive their first dental exam no later than their first birthday.
Such visits serve as an opportunity to provide timely preventive care to small children – and guidance to parents that can help keep their children’s teeth clean and disease-free. Continue reading
Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJPanelist Mary Foley focused on the potential changes in financing of oral health programs that serve the public during a discussion at Health Journalism 2017.
It is hard to know, amid the ongoing battle to reshape the nation’s health care system, what the future holds for dental care.
Panelists at Health Journalism 2017 tackled the unknown yet crucial territory that lies ahead in a session entitled “Oral Health Stories to Watch in 2017.” Speakers encouraged the reporters in the audience to remember to ask good questions about dental services as they cover their beats in the months ahead. Continue reading
Photo: Andy Marso / Heartland Health MonitorDr. John Fasbinder, shown working on a patient, was featured in a recent public radio piece by KHI News Service’s Andy Marso about rural dental care challenges for Medicaid recipients.
It is a scenario that regularly plays out in statehouses during times of fiscal austerity: funding for Medicaid dental services goes on the chopping block. A shortage of Medicaid dental providers already is a major problem in many communities and dentists often blame low reimbursement rates and budget cuts for making the problem worse.
Reporter Andy Marso has been following the problem in Kansas. Continue reading