4.6 million children in America in 2008 did not see a dentist because their parents did not have enough money to pay, and only 38% of seniors had dental coverage in 2006, says a new report by the Institute of Medicine (IoM) and National Research Council. The authors say that ‘persistent and systemic’ obstacles undermine people’s access to oral health care. These obstacles need to be removed, the authors insist, and suggest the following should occur:
- The funding and reimbursement for dental care should change
- Training for doctors, nurses and other non-dental professionals should be expanded so that signs of oral diseases may be better identified
- Administrative, educational and regulatory practices should be revamped
Chair of the committee that wrote the report, Frederick Rivara, said:
“The consequences of insufficient access to oral health care and resultant poor oral health – at both the individual and population levels – are far-reaching.