April 18th, 2017

Did we really need a study to find this out?

MONDAY, April 10, 2017 (HealthDay News) — American children without dental insurance are far less likely to receive necessary care for their teeth than kids with coverage, a new survey finds.

Toothaches and other dental problems that interfere with eating, sleeping or school performance are twice as common for kids without dental coverage, researchers found.

 

Children with tooth decay and gum disease eventually become adults with tooth decay and gum disease unless efforts to prevent poor oral hygiene commence early in life with the eruption of the very first tooth in infancy. And we’ve already seen before how common poor oral health is in children:

Although largely preventable, dental caries (cavities) and gum disease (periodontitis) are two of the most common chronic diseases of children and teenagers — five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than allergic rhinitis (“hay fever”).

 

We’ve quoted former Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin previously for her insight into the “mouth-body connection”:

“Recent research has indicated possible associations between chronic oral infections and diabetes, heart and lung disease, stroke, and low birthweight or premature births. In other words, oral health refers to the health of our mouth and, ultimately, supports and reflects the health of the entire body.”

 

Robert Preidt says when children have dental coverage, they receive dental care; when they don’t, they don’t:

Overall, 13 percent of parents said that in the past year their children needed dental care but weren’t able to receive it. The rate was nearly three times higher among uninsured children (26 percent) than among those with insurance (9 percent).

Cost was cited by more than half of parents as the reason why their children did not receive needed dental care.

Low-income and minority parents were more likely to say their children did not receive needed dental care.

 

The timing of the study’s publication comes at a time when Congress is mulling over (“debating” is not what’s happening) dramatic changes to the American healthcare system. One can conclude from this study, from prior research, and from using some common sense that ensuring quality dental care in the pediatric population will lower healthcare costs in childhood and adulthood. And lower healthcare costs are good for them, good for you, and good for me.

That’s a pretty good deal, don’t you think?

 

(Google Images)

 

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  • MEET THE EDITOR

    Ned Ketyer, M.D.

    Ned Ketyer, M.D.

    Dr. Ketyer has special interests in developmental pediatrics and preventative medicine, specifically how nutrition and the environment affect health. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School. He completed his residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

    As one of the founding physicians of Pediatric Alliance, PC, Dr. Ketyer served as its president from 1997-2004. He has been practicing general pediatrics at Pediatric Alliance since 1990. Dr. Ketyer and his wife have three boys and live in Pittsburgh's South Hills. 



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