The oral health crisis in America is something we don’t talk about enough. Over the last couple of years, there have been a decline in the oral health of low-income families. Oral healthcare is out of reach for many of these families. Kids from these families are 50 percent less likely to visit a dentist but are twice as likely to develop oral conditions like tooth decay.
A recent survey found that 9 million kids between the ages of 2-19 are suffering from tooth decay in America. Note that these kids suffer a lot more than the pain and anxiety linked to the condition. These kids may likely be bullied by their peers and malnourished.
America may be the wealthiest nation on the planet, but its oral care system is far from ideal. Of course, some notable improvements have been made in the dental care space, but there is still a lot of work left to be done.
In this article, we are going to be exploring five reasons why there is an oral health crisis in America.
These causes of the oral health crisis in America
Many oral care products aren’t SNAP approved
Many low-income and poor families in the US know about the benefits of brushing their teeth, but they just can’t afford it. Most of them depend on food stamps programs to get the supplies they need to survive. They literally have to choose between getting food or getting oral care items. If toothbrushes and toothpaste were part of the items SNAP approved, poor families may have been able to get their hands on them.
Every now and then some dental care clinics offer bamboo toothbrushes at educational events for kids. These kids are usually very excited to get these oral care products. Most of the time, they go ahead to share these products with their families. (This is far from ideal, as it may lead to the spread of some oral care conditions).
There aren’t enough providers- This is one of the leading causes of the oral health crisis in America.
The number of dentists in the US is presently unable to comfortably address the oral care needs of the community. Of course, there are areas with a good number of dentists. But there are also areas with only a handful of dentists. These areas are classified by experts as (HPSA) Dental care health professional shortage areas. A recent survey found that over 58 million Americans live in these areas. The oral care system in these areas is over-labored. Even worse, only 29% of the people in these areas are having their oral care needs addressed.
Many people don’t know about the importance of oral health care
Many parents in the US don’t have a clear picture of how important oral care is to children. Some may decide to skip taking their child to a dentist, even when they have an oral condition. Others have the notion that tooth decay isn’t really a big deal in kids. For some, the cost of oral care, deters them from visiting a dentist.
Some caregivers also contribute to this problem. There are instances where caregivers tell parents to only take their child’s oral condition seriously only when they experience pain or discomfort. But this is a terrible advice. You see, even if some oral condition isn’t making a patient experience pay it may be causing other damage.
The government doesn’t prioritize oral care
While the government has made taken notable steps to improve the oral care of US citizens, it is worth noting more work is needed. Thanks to the Medicaid program, millions of kids were able to get dental care.
To help more communities improve their oral health, the government need to adopt policies that will encourage dentist to do more. Even more, they need to pump more funds into the dental care space.
Many families don’t prioritize oral care
Parents also play a role in the health oral health care crisis in the United States. A recent study found that 1 in 5 people hasn’t’ visited a dentist in years. Presently, only 52% of adults in the US visit the dentist.
Parents usually say that they do better for their children than they do for their self. But recent data is saying otherwise. 10 percent of kids aren’t taken to the dentist annually. 65 percent of kids haven’t visited the dentist in the last 6 months.
There you have it, some reasons why there is an oral health crisis in the US. As mentioned above, parents and the government have an important role to play to address this. If you are doing fairly good for yourself, you should make sure everyone in your family gets oral care, you wot regret it.