Monday, April 07, 2008

AMNews: March 3, 2008. Tooth or consequences: The costs of poor dental fitness ... American Medical News:

"A few years ago, an extremely sick, 2�-year-old boy came to the [fluoridated] Houston office of pediatrician Ray Wagner, MD, with a 105-degree temperature. The illness, which required five days of hospitalization and a course of intravenous antibiotics, got its start in an infected tooth;"

"Patients also have more difficulty financing dental care. Far more lack dental than medical insurance. Medicare does not cover most dentistry. Medicaid dental coverage for adults is optional, although quite a few states do provide this benefit to some degree. Children on Medicaid have coverage, but because of low reimbursement rates and other issues associated with the program or with living in poverty, they can have a very difficult time finding a dentist who will see them. These realities mean disparities in oral health generally run directly along economic lines. According to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, released in September 2007, 26.5% of those in poor families saw a dentist annually, while 57.9% of those from high-income families did."