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Dental Care In The Underserved Essay

2314 words - 10 pages

“In 2007, the nation spent $98.6 billion on dental services, yet many children and adults went without the services they need to prevent and control oral disease. We have interventions that can not only prevent disease but also save money” (CDC 34). Oral health for the general public, especially the underserved, has been consistently overlooked. Low-income families and developing countries, who are the most vulnerable to oral problems, are the population that is the most ignored. Five and a half percent of people, in 2007, either could not receive dental care or were putting it off. The main cause of this is money. Many insurances are not accepted by dental clinics because of the high costs of dental exams (Institute of Medicine. 38, 88). If this is not the case, why are these people delaying in protecting their oral health? What most people do not know is that oral health affects overall health. This realization began in 1944 with the Public Health Service Act; it was asking for a movement protecting oral health as it was linked to overall health (Imes par. 4). More research is coming out on this subject, but already bacteria from periodontal disease has been found in the brain, lungs, and heart (Institute of Medicine. 33). With oral health being increasingly important and low-income families and countries being underserved, the government has started to initiate programs to improve oral health geared towards the underprivileged. The water fluoridation and school-based dental sealants are two successful programs started by the government (“Oral health.” CDC par. 41). These programs however do not reach enough people, especially the people who are part of the underserved. With oral health as important as it is, more measures need to be taken to provide affordable dental care and government dental programs because government run dental initiatives are successful, overall health is affected by dental health, and oral hygiene is a problem for underprivileged citizens.
Government programs are an essential tool in protecting the oral health of underserved citizens. These government programs provide basic protection for people who are unable to receive regular dental exams. Water fluoridation is one of the government run programs that has demonstrated success among all people, not just the underserved. Fluoride is known to protect dental health. According to the Surgeon General’s Report, “Fluoride reduces the incidence of dental caries [tooth decay] and slows or reverses the progression of existing lesions [abnormalities in the oral region]” (158). This is why dentists have been using fluoridation treatments for decades. Water fluoridation has similar affects on dental protection and oral diseases prevention. Dental protection is shown to have a twenty-five percent increase by drinking fluoridated water (Institute of Medicine. 45, Bailey par. 7).
This government run program is a great success, however, it is not meeting the...

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