Tag Archives: flouride

Reporter explores how state’s economic health affects its 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.

The Oklahoma newspapers in the Community Newspaper Holding Inc. (CNHI) chain offered readers a series that examines the everyday challenges that many state residents face in meeting basic needs.

For stories in the weekly Overextended Oklahomans series, journalists from participating newspapers have looked at the burdens exacted by payday lending, childhood hunger and the shortage of neonatal care. In one recent installment, reporting team member Caleb Slinkard offered a detailed exploration of how a scarcity of dental care is impacting poor and rural Oklahomans. Continue reading

Research delves into disparities in children’s 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.

Poor children suffer from more dental decay than their wealthier peers. In many cases, they may lack private insurance or live in communities where routine care or preventive dental treatments such as sealants can be hard to find. They may live in areas without fluoridated water or in places where tap water is mistrusted. Public health officials and advocates place great emphasis upon addressing such community needs.

Mary OttoMary Otto, AHCJ’s topic leader on oral health is writing blog posts, editing tip sheets and articles and gathering resources to help our members cover oral health care.

If you have questions or suggestions for future resources on the topic, please send them to mary@healthjournalism.org.

In fact, at a recent Capitol Hill forum on oral health Lynn Douglas Mouden, D.D.S., the chief dental officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services went so far as to say, “The combination of dental sealants and community water fluoridation can prevent virtually all decay in children.”

Yet even when community issues are addressed, family dynamics may play a deciding role in oral health disparities.

Newly published research suggests that even young children who have had the benefits of dental insurance, fluoride treatments and sealants can suffer dental decay by the time they are teens.

For a study just published in the Journal of Dental Research, researchers at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Dental Medicine explored what factors in the children’s past might have influenced their oral health outcomes.

They concluded that the emotional health, educational level and coping skills of their mothers could have made the difference. Continue reading