Sunday, September 26, 2010

Increase Preventive Oral Care to At-Risk Adults

Increase Preventive Oral Care to Most At-Risk Adults

Having dedicated my life to preventive oral care, peer-reviewed articles on the impact of preventive care for at risk seniors continues to peak my interest. After reviewing many articles, two of them in particular caught my attention; Investing in preventive care for the Medicare Population (Moeller, Chen, and Manski, 2010) and Prevalence and Demographic Correlates of Tooth Loss among the Elderly in the United States (Marcus, Kaste, and Brown, 1998). There are many barriers to dental care in the United States; income, education, geography (rural/urban), disability status, age and culture, to name a few. Based on research of our aging population, the most at-risk populations to target for preventive services are “those with the least education and income.”1

Across the board, this segment of the aging population is found to have the highest edentulous rate, regardless of other factors. To increase access to preventive care for this population, increasing dental coverage through Medicare is one proposed solution. Not only can this measure improve the oral health of older adults, it can also lead to the reduction of expensive restorative or emergency treatment.2

1 Prevalence and demographic correlates of tooth loss among the elderly in the United States.
Marcus SE, Kaste LM, Brown LJ.
Spec Care Dentist. 1994 May-Jun;14(3):123-7.PMID: 7871473 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

2 Investing in Preventive Dental Care for the Medicare Population: A Preliminary Analysis.
Moeller JF, Chen H, Manski RJ.
Am J Public Health. 2010 Sep 23. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 20864712 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]