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Oral and Dental Health

Oral and Dental Health

child at dentist office

LEGISBRIEF: MEDICAID DENTAL BENEFITS

People without dental coverage are less likely to visit dentists, and are more likely to have poor dental health. Even for those with coverage, accessing dental care is still often difficult. Lawmakers are working to increase access to dental services for Medicaid-enrolled adults and children.

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ORAL HEALTH PRIMER

Good oral health is key to good overall health, yet millions of Americans lack access to basic, affordable oral health care. Largely preventable, poor oral health can negatively impact quality of life by affecting speech, nutrition, growth and social development. Growing evidence links oral diseases to health conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease, and potential pregnancy complications.

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OVERVIEW

Oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease, can have reaching impacts into the health of the rest of the body. Oral health disease prevention measures are especially important for children to ensure proper oral health in the future. Dental disease is the most common chronic illness for children in the United States. Dental disease is preventable, yet dental care is the most common unmet health treatment need in children. Untreated dental problems can lead to pain, weight loss, missed school days, poor appearance, decreased self-esteem and even death. Policymakers consider many oral health issues including access to dental health care, oral health workforce issues, and water fluoridation.

 

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