Access to dental care still a problem for low-income people in Wisconsin
: In 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available, emergency departments at Wisconsin hospitals saw 27,741 patients who were in pain because of dental problems, such as abscesses — an average of 533 a week. Wisconsin is 89% fluoridated.
Most of the visits stem from the limited access to dental care for
people who are covered by BadgerCare Plus, the state's largest Medicaid
program, or for people who are uninsured. And advocates and dentists
alike express little hope that the well-documented and longstanding
problem will improve anytime soon.
A January 2014 report by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services found:
■Four out of 10 adults had at least one
permanent tooth removed
because of tooth decay or gum disease, with
missing teeth more common among people with low incomes.
■Among people who live in households with
incomes below $20,000, 60% had at least one permanent tooth removed
compared with 26% for people with household incomes of more than $75,000
after adjusting for age.
■One in three African-American, Latino or
Asian children in third grade had untreated tooth decay
, compared with
one in six for white children.
This is more evidence that fluoridation is unable to bridge the oral health disparity caused by poverty and poor diets.