Reversible Decay: Oral Health is a Public Health Problem We Can Solve
Research Report Indicates Most Amercians Rate Oral Health as a Top Health Concern
Oral health is in fact a significant issue for Americans, according to independent research commissioned by DentaQuest. This report represents a unique 360-degree view of concerns and potential solutions for America’s oral health care challenges among patients, dentists, physicians, Medicaid dental administrators and employers.
We found widespread agreement on the problems with our failing oral health system, including systematic, financial and emotional barriers to access and care. Knowing we'd identify the problems, we also asked about potential solutions and found remarkable agreement for several promising and achievable steps forward.
Americans overwhelmingly agree oral health is important for achieving overall health, and preventive oral care is key to getting there. Beyond a prevention-first approach, there's also broad appeal for greater medical-dental integration, offering oral health care beyond the dental chair, transitioning to a value-based payment model, and ensuring comprehensive adult dental coverage as part of Medicare and Medicaid.
Key Findings - The Case for An Oral Health Revolution
- Nearly all respondents agree oral health is important for attaining overall health. And yet:
- Three in four Americans say they‘ve experienced barriers to accessing dental care – most commonly high costs and lack of insurance coverage.
- More than half of Americans view the oral health system as either scary, confusing, inconvenient or ineffective.
- Half of patients rate oral health as their top personal health concern over heart, eye, skin, digestive, and even mental health.
- Many people share misconceptions about what is and isn’t covered by federal and state programs. But, regardless of their understanding,
- The vast majority of patients want dental coverage as part of Medicare and Medicaid.
America's Oral Health: An Emerging Crisis – A Panel Event
An estimated 74 million Americans have no access to oral health care – that's nearly double the number of people without health insurance. In Washington D.C., most policy discussions around health insurance leave out oral health. Experts from federal and state health agencies, Congress, and academia discussed what it will take to stir up political will and recognize oral health as an integral part of overall health care before it’s too late.
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