Vol. 4, issue 7
Working Together Towards a Healthy Future
The success of our country is based upon the power of people working together to develop creative solutions to everyday problems. Currently, stakeholders from all parts of this nation are speaking up about health care reform. To be successful, these individuals must all come together to guide us towards a healthy future. This future relies, in part, on addressing the oral health issues throughout the country.
Dental decay is an infectious disease caused by bacteria in the mouth. Left untreated, dental disease can interfere with a person's ability to eat, sleep, speak, learn, and work. Decades of research have confirmed associations between dental disease and serious lifelong ailments such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and preterm birth. Health reform bills that have been introduced in the House and the Senate each include important provisions for oral health. The Children's Dental Health Project, a national non-profit organization with the vision of achieving equity in children's oral health, has broken each bill down into several important issues:
Dental coverage for children - For every child without health insurance, two are without dental coverage. Each bill contains a program for individuals and certain businesses to purchase either public or private insurance products that are overseen by the government. Health plans are required to include oral health care for children, the scope of which are to be defined by an expert panel.
Dental coverage for pregnant women and all adults - Oral health is an essential part of overall health and should not be separated in the health delivery system. Dental caries are transmissible from mother to child. Pregnant women with gum disease are at risk for low birth weight and pre-term birth. Although neither bill specifies what benefits will be offered to adults, the House bill includes "premium- plus" plans that provide additional benefits such as oral health coverage.
Prevention - Almost 90% of children's oral health issues could be prevented with simple measures. The House Tri-Committee bill includes children's oral health coverage in "well child and well baby care." The Senate HELP Committee establishes a public education campaign on oral health, grants to develop research-based dental caries management programs, and school-based dental sealant programs for all 50 states.
The Children's Dental Health Project also examines the potential for infrastructure and surveillance, development of a stronger workforce, improvement in quality of care, federal coordination and leadership, and school-based programs. For more information, please visit www.cdhp.org.
Watch Your Mouth has taken advantage of the summer to get the word out about in oral health in the media and the community. Some examples of recent outreach include:
Children can't be healthy without good oral health! With help from the FrameWorks Institute, Watch Your Mouth ensures that people understand that the majority of dental disease is preventable. Through access to preventive services and regular oral health exams, we will have healthier, more productive kids.
One way that FrameWorks ensures that this important message is understood is by studying how different framing strategies influence civic engagement in social problems. Click here to learn more about media effects and framing.
There are many ways to stay up to date on oral health between newsletters! For more information, please check out:The Watch Your Mouth website The Health Care For All website The Health Care For All blog Health Care for All on Facebook Health Care For All on Twitter