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Friday Dental Download: October 3, 2014

Happy National Dental Hygiene Month! This week, we discover the 6 biggest dental problems for people over age 50, learn that good dental hygiene does more than take care of teeth, and discuss California’s launch of Medicaid-funded teledentistry. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1. California To Launch Medicaid-Funded Teledentistry: California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that will require Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for low-income and disabled residents, to pay for dental services delivered by teams of hygienists and dentists connected through the Internet. California is among the first states to launch teledentistry services, which are intended to increase options for patients in remote and underserved areas. This bill will also expand the types of procedures hygienists and certain assistants can perform without onsite supervision by a dentist.

2. More education needed on HIV-oral health link: Knowledge surrounding HIV/AIDS has increased in recent years but more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are infected with HIV. What many people don’t realize is the important role oral health plays when it comes to HIV and AIDS. In fact, the mouth may be the first part of the body to display signs of an HIV infection. Oral infections can be an indicator of immune system dysfunction. DentaQuest is acutely aware of Tennessee’s affected and at-risk populations, specifically medically underserved residents and young adults. DentaQuest works with community organizations and holds screenings and educational events across the state to engage all in conversations about good oral health.

3. Good dental hygiene does more than take care of your teeth: Regular visits to the dentist not only ensure healthy teeth and gums but also may help protect your brain. A recent study found a strong connection between dental health and risk for stroke, a major cause of brain damage and cognitive decline. The research adds to the growing research that shows a correlation between careful care of teeth and gums and lowered the risk for cardiovascular disease. Good dental hygiene is an important part of ensuring good health. For adult oral health tips click here.

4. ADA supports agreement to cut soft drink calories: Last week, the three biggest U.S. soft drink companies, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, pledged to cut the number of beverage calories that Americans consume by one-fifth by 2025. Not only do the high calories in soft drinks contribute to the obesity epidemic, but the high sugar content contributes to poor oral health.

5. The 6 Biggest Dental Problems for People Over Age 50: Older Americans are keeping their teeth longer than before. The most common problems for older Americans are, tooth decay, dry mouth, gum disease, oral cancer, and tooth crowding. For preventive tips, click here.

6. Community Foundation’s Mission of Mercy Fund receives $10,000 from DentaQuest for 2015 free dental clinic: The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore’s Mission of Mercy Fund received $10,000 from DentaQuest to support the operational needs of the Eastern Shore’s second Mission of Mercy dental clinic scheduled to be held April 17-18, 2015 at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury, MD. “Mission of Mercy” (MOM) projects are conducted across the country to bring quality dental care to underserved populations. DentaQuest teams are supporting MOMs in Henderson, CO, San Antonio, TX and Rio Rancho, New Mexico this month.