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Friday Dental Download: November 7, 2014

This week we discuss the link between diabetes and dental care, learn that financial issues are the main reason for delayed oral care, and discover why Americans need to pay more attention to preventive care. Don’t forget to check out our Movember blog post to learn more about the relationship between men’s health and dental health, and our new blog series, Why it Matters to Me. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1. ADA report: Financial issues are main reason for delayed dental care: Financial factors are often the main reason people delay getting needed dental care, according to a new report for the ADA Health Policy Institute. Furthermore, access to dental care will become more difficult as millions of children and adults gain dental coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The report also found that the percentage of people who needed but could not access dental care fell from 18.2 percent in 2004 to 14.6 percent in 2012.

2. Dental x-rays could be first step in osteoporosis screening: A new study shows panoramic dental x-rays can be used to help identify low skeletal bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women, which means that screening for spinal osteoporosis could begin in the dentist's office. The study included 316 postmenopausal women who had no symptoms of osteoporosis, however 159 had no history of hysterectomy, oophorectomy or estrogen use, the remaining 157 had one or more of these histories. The study found that dental x-rays were just as effective as questionnaires in identifying those women. Dental x-rays, looking at the shape and width of the jaw, were 87 percent effective in identifying women with spinal osteoporosis.

3. Cigna Dental Insurance Study: Americans Need to Pay More Attention to Preventive Dental Care: According to a recent survey of U.S. consumers, more than one-fourth of adults with dental insurance don’t take full advantage of their preventive care benefits. Most dental plans cover preventive checkups every six months, yet the study found that people are avoiding getting any care during the year because of a fear of the cost of fear of the dentist. Others say they don’t feel the need to get checked more frequently than once per year because their teeth don’t hurt. However, absence of pain does not mean absence of problems. For more information about why preventive dental visits matter, click here.

4. Dentist Involvement Recommended for Diabetes Care: Dentists are in a unique position to identify patients with diabetes as well as patients already diagnosed with diabetes who are at increased risk for complications. Researchers found that older people are more likely to visit a dentist than a primary care physician. With the projected rise in chronic diseases, including diabetes, and the growing shortage of primary care physicians, it is important for dental and medical health care providers to work together to tackle this public health issue. For more about the link between oral health and diabetes click here.

5. DentaQuest Foundation Grant Supports Oral health American’s Increased Focus on Older Adult Health and Wellness: Every day 10,000 people retire and only 9.8 percent do so with a dental benefit. To reshape systems that will impact lifelong oral health and stem the growing crisis facing older Americans when it comes to paying for oral healthcare, the DentaQuest Foundation has awarded Oral Health America (OHA) with a $299,450 grant. This grant will be used to support new initiatives within the Wisdom Tooth Project (WTP), OHA's program that strives to improve access and utilization of care, health literacy and policies that promote oral health equity for those most vulnerable.