Recent stories in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have added to the growing national attention on the lack of oral health care in the U.S.
This summer The Kaiser Family Foundation released several policy briefs about oral health in the U.S. and the problems associated with a lack of dental care. The briefs include the following:
Oral health in the US: Key Facts
Children and Oral Health: Assessing Needs, Coverage and Access
Oral Health and Medicare Beneficiaries: Coverage, Out-of-Pocket Spending, and Unmet Need
Oral Health and Low-Income Nonelderly Adults: A Review of Coverage and Access
The policy papers draw attention to the prevalence and consequences of dental problems among children, adults and seniors. They also focus on oral health disparities and examine the costs when people are unable to access dental care.
The Kaiser Foundation held a forum in June to discuss the consequences associated with a lack of dental coverage and care for low-income adults. The forum examined strategies for addressing this problem and the benefits of providing oral health care for everyone. See the archived webcast from the June 19 public forum.
A theme in the Kaiser Foundation analysis is that even though poor oral health is largely preventable, the lack of dental care affects the overall health and quality life for many adults. Adults with chronic diseases such as diabetes are especially affected by poor oral health.