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Oral Health Services Provided In Medical Setting May Improve Access to Care

Providing routine preventive oral health screenings in physician-based settings may help resolve the access-to-care problems that plague the United States.

Providing routine preventive oral health screenings in physician-based settings may help resolve the access-to-care problems that plague the United States. This is according to a new study released by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, in which researchers found that physician-based preventive oral health services in areas where professional dental care is limited and young Medicaid participants abound may improve oral health status. The complete study was published in Health Affairs in December.

North Carolina was the ideal setting for this study, as it ranks 47th in the nation in accessibility to dental care. To compile the data, researchers examined locations of dental and medical practices that provide pediatric preventive oral health services, such as fluoride varnish. They then accessed claims data to evaluate the relationship between distance from these practices and the use of oral health services. Analysis revealed that those children who lived farthest from a dental practice were less likely to receive dental care. This led the researchers to conclude that because children receive many well-child medical visits during the first 2 years of life, the physician-based setting for the delivery of preventive oral health care may help improve access to care.


From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. January 2015;13(1):14,16.

 

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