Oral Health America recently released an eye-opening report on the “state of decay” of oral health in older Americans. The report, called “State of Decay,” is a state-by-state analysis of five factors that contribute to the oral health of older adults. This report shows that older adults’ oral health is in a state of decay. Older adults make up one of the fastest growing segments of the American population. In 2009, 39.6 million seniors were U.S. residents and this number is expected to reach 72.1 million by 2030 — an increase of 82 percent.
Their main findings showed:
- Persistent lack of oral health coverage across much of the nation. Forty-two percent of states (21 states) provide either no dental benefit or emergency coverage only through adult Medicaid Dental Benefits.
- Strained dental health work force. Thirty-one states (62 percent) have high rates of Dental Health Provider Shortage Areas (HPSAs), meeting only 40 percent or less of dental provider needs.
- Tooth loss remains a signal of suboptimal oral health. Eight states had strikingly high rates of edentulism (tooth loss), with West Virginia notably having an adult population that is 33.8 percent edentate.
- Deficiencies in preventive programs. Thirteen states (26 percent) have 60 percent or more residents living in communities without water fluoridation (CWF), despite recognition for 68 years that this public health measure markedly reduces dental caries. Hawaii (89.2 percent) and New Jersey (86.5 percent) represent the highest rates of citizens unprotected by fluoridation, an unnecessary public peril.
At Krengel Dental, we understand that older adults are at an increased risk for oral conditions such as tooth loss, oral cancer, and periodontal disease and we are dedicated to servicing your smile. The most important service we offer is preventative dental care. We will work to maintain your smile and oral health in a healthy, comfortable, attractive state throughout your life. Contact us today!