2008-01-25 Dental Decay: The Hidden Health Crisis

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Date: 2008-01-25
Link: http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/74749/?page=entire
Topics: US health care costs poverty
Categories: US health care costs poverty

Dental Decay: The Hidden Health Crisis

by Katrina vanden Heuvel, TheNation.com: “Last Spring, following the death of twelve-year old Deamonte Driver of Maryland whose untreated tooth infection spread to his brain, I wrote about the national epidemic of dental disease and the lack of access to dental care faced by the poor and working class. Last month, an article in The New York Times painted a horrifying picture of the state of dental care, where bootleggers sell dentures that would otherwise be unaffordable to many people missing teeth; where low Medicaid reimbursement rates perpetuate a dearth of participating dentists; where untreated cavities are a leading cause of kids missing school, people use Krazy Glue to reattach broken teeth, or swish rubbing alcohol to treat an infection, "burning the gums and creating ulcers." .. Currently, Medicaid only covers pulling teeth to treat infections -- not root canals or dentures -- which can certainly dim the job prospects for someone trying to earn a living in our economy. .. "Try finding work when you're in your 30s or 40s and you're missing front teeth," Jane Stephenson, founder of the New Opportunity School in Berea, Kentucky told the Times.”

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