Child and Adolescent Healthcare Quality and Healthcare Disparites Reports

November 14, 2008

The 2007 National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report indicate disparities in oral health care quality, access, and utilization for children.

Since 2003, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has produced an annual National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report.  These studies are a “report card” on the Nation’s health.  Several measures featured in recent reports pertain to the oral health of children.

Key findings include:

  • The percentage of children ages 2-17 with a dental visit in the past year has increased and is now over 50 percent.
  • From 1999-2004, the proportion of children with untreated dental caries was higher for Blacks (24.4%) and Mexican Americans (31.2%) than for Whites (17%).
  • The percentage of children with a dental visit in the past year was lower for poor, near poor, and middle income children compared with high income children

The fact sheet, with links to the full report and detailed data tables may be viewed online.

Read recent articles, as indexed in PubMed.

Browse a list of internet resources pertaining to acess to oral health care.


Medicaid and Dental Care

October 31, 2008

In June of 2008, the ADA’s Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations (CAPIR) conducted a one-day Medicaid symposium at it’s headquarters in Chicago. The purpose of the symposium was to provide background information for attendees of the Access to Dental Care Summit, which is scheduled for March 2009.

The primary goal of the Symposium was to gain an understanding of the challenges in providing care to
Medicaid recipients, and discuss strategies to integrate Medicaid patients into private practice
settings.  Participants included representatives from each trustee district, who had at least 1,000 Medicaid or State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) patient visits in the last calendar year.

Read the report.

Browse recent articles regarding dental care and Medicaid, as indexed in PubMed.

Oral Health: The Public Speaks

October 20, 2008

The American Dental Association, in collaboration with Crest and Oral-,B conducted a national public opinion survey on oral health care.  The survey represented  1,000 Americans ages 18 and older, living in the continental United States. The survey focused on the following areas:

  • The public’s perceptions of their oral health care, with a special focus on African Americans, Hispanics and lower-income Americans
  • Americans’ knowledge of effective and essential oral health care habits
  • Oral health habits among the nation’s youth
  • The psychological benefits of a healthy smile

Key findings include:

  • Eight out of  ten Americans say taking care of one’s mouth, teeth and gums is “absolutely needed; however, only one-third of them say they do an “excellent” job taking care of them
  • One out of four parents describe their children’s job of taking care of their oral health as fair” or “poor”

More than one in three Americans say:

  • They think a little bleeding from brushing is normal (33%)
  • They are unaware that periodontal disease needs to be treated and cannot be left alone (33%)
  • They don’t know that poor oral health has been associated with serious health conditions such as stroke, heart disease  and diabetes (37%)

The full report and related documents are available on the ADA site.

Links to resources for educating your patients on oral health conditions, treatment and prevention may be found here.

Blog Action Day: Oral Health and Poverty

October 14, 2008

Wednesday, October 15th is the second annual Blog Action Day. This event aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters to post about the same issue on the same day with the goal of raising awareness, triggering global discussion, and making a difference.

This year’s theme is POVERTY.

Blog Action Day calls for all bloggers to examine the issue of poverty from their own unique viewpoints and perspectives.

Poverty has long been a concern for Eastman dentistry.  In 1916, George Eastman established the Rochester Dental Dispensary so that indigent children could receive preventive dental care.  Today we offer a variety of services to the impoverished through our Community Dentistry and SMILEmobile programs.  Moreover, we look forward to increasing access to Rochester’s underserved residents with the help of our recent HEAL NY grant award.

For more information on oral health and poverty, check out these resources:

Millions of Children Estimated to Have Untreated Tooth Decay: New Report

September 29, 2008

On September 22, the Government Accountability Office released a report stating that more than 6.5 million children who are currently enrolled in Medicaid have problems with tooth decay.  Furthermore, children in Medicaid remain at higher risk of dental disease compared to children with private health insurance.  In fact, children in Medicaid were almost twice as likely to have untreated tooth decay.

A summary, with links to the full report, may be found here.

A list of recent articles on Medicaid and Oral Health may be found in PubMed.

Community Efforts to Expand Dental Services for Low-Income People

September 26, 2008

The Center for Studying Health System Change recently published an issue brief exploring the oral health of low-income people.  The brief identifies key barriers and attempts that are being made to provide dental services to these individuals.

The report includes sections on:

  • State Medicaid and SCHIP Policy Affects Dental Access
  • Significant Gaps in the Dental Safety Net
  • Community Efforts to Expand Dental Services
  • Implications

The authors conclude that low-income people will continue to lack access unless there is more involvement from the dental community and state and federal policy makers.

Read the full brief here.

Oral Health Care for Mom and Baby

September 26, 2008

The National Maternal and Oral Health Resource Center has published three new documents related to pregnancy and oral health, and oral health for babies.

The first, Access to Oral Health Care During the Perinatal Period, is a policy brief that provides an overview of barriers to addressing women’s oral health needs during the perinatal period. Evidence from the professional, peer-reviewed literature is cited throughout the document.

The second document  is a summary of practice guidelines for oral health care during pregnancy.  Geared toward prenatal and oral health professionals, the guidelines are intended to bring about changes in the health care delivery system and to improve the overall standard of care for pregnant women.

Lastly, Two Healthy Smiles: Tips to Keep You and Your Baby Healthy  is a brochure designed to educate women about the importance of oral hygiene and oral health care during pregnancy. Topics include brushing, flossing, eating healthy foods, and getting dental checkups and treatment. Additional topics include the impact of hormonal changes during pregnancy on gum health, caring for an infant’s gums and teeth, and finding a dentist.

View the latest publications on pregnancy and oral health, as indexed in PubMed here. 




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