Oral Health America issued a startling report that reveals a sizeable disparity in the available of dental care for older Americans. “State of Decay” found a persistent lack of oral health coverage across much of the nation: 42% of states (21 states) provide either no dental benefits or provide only emergency coverage through adult Medicaid Dental benefits. A strained dental health work force prevails, with 31 states having high rates of Dental Health Provider Shortage Areas (HPSAs), meeting only 40% or less of dental provider needs. Tooth loss remains a signal of suboptimal oral health, with 8 states having strikingly high rates of edentulism (people with no teeth at all). By issuing this Report, Oral Health America aims to encourage better approaches to meet the oral health challenges among older adults – who experience the medical complexities of having multiple chronic diseases and often face financial challenges in paying for dental services.
A State of Decay. Oral Health America, October 2013.
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