16:03 PM

Friday Dental Download: May 16, 2014

This week, we learn about screening for chronic illness during dental checkups, find out why it’s important for retirees to get dental coverage, and talk about a new clinic designed to provide oral health care for patients with special needs. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

Mike Monopoli, DMD, Director of Policy and programs for DentaQuest Foundation and an advisor to the US National Oral Health Alliance, spoke with DrBicuspid this week about the National Oral Health Alliance’sEmerging Framework for Action, which he presented at last week’s National Oral Health Conference. The framework aims to reduce the rate of dental disease among U.S. adults and children by ensuring all communities, especially those with vulnerable populations, have access to care and prevention. Read more about DentaQuest’s involvement in the Alliance here.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of all American adults suffer from chronic illnesses, many of which go unnoticed until significant damage has been done. A recent study from the ADA Health Policy Resources Center found that dentists screening for common chronic conditions could save the health care system as much as $102.6 million annually, as the patient could seek immediate medical attention for an illness, thus preventing the condition from worsening over time.

3. When You Don't Have Dental Insurance
Although the Accordable Care Act classifies dental care an essential health benefit for anyone under the age of 18, it does not require adults to have such coverage. However, this Forbes article reminds readers that dental care is equally important for adults, as older teeth are more susceptible to decay. Learn how you can get your teeth and gums covered at dentaquest.com.

The U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force recommended last year that school-based programs provide sealants for children in an effort to prevent tooth decay. However, the Children’s Dental Health Projectreleased a report this week outlining the difficulties these school-based sealant programs face, such as lack of funding. The report recommends that dentists partner with these programs to reinforce the effectiveness of sealants to parents and caregivers, and to ensure follow-up care.

The Tufts University School of Dental Medicine opened a clinic in Massachusetts to provide oral health care to patients with developmental and acquired disabilities. According to Dr. Darren Drag, Director of Clinical Operations of Tufts Dental Facilities, many of the patients at this clinic do not have the physical ability to properly care for their oral health, leading to poor oral hygiene and untreated tooth decay. This clinic aims to “serve the underserved,” according to Dr. Drag.

This blog post explains one of the causes of the oral health crisis in America: the shortage of dentists. For example, in Somerset County, OR there are only 17 dentists for every 100,000 people, compared to 76 for every 100,000 in Portland, OR. We are happy to see the Huffington Post continue to blog aboutthe importance of expanding access to dental care in America, as DentaQuest is dedicated to improving the oral health of all.