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Reversible Decay: Oral Health is a Public Health Problem We Can Solve

According to independent research commissioned by DentaQuest, oral health is a significant issue for Americans. The report, Reversible Decay: Oral Health is a Public Health Problem We Can Solve, represents a unique 360-degree view of concerns and potential solutions for America’s oral health care challenges among patients, dentists, physicians, Medicaid dental administrators and employers.

There was widespread agreement about the problems with our failing oral health system, including systematic, financial and emotional barriers to access and care. In addition to identifying problems, we asked about potential solutions and found remarkable agreement for several promising and achievable steps forward.

Americans overwhelmingly agree that oral health is important for achieving overall health, and preventive oral care is key to getting there. Beyond a prevention-first approach, there is also broad appeal for greater medical-dental integration, offering oral health care beyond the dental chair, transitioning to a value-based payment model, and ensuring comprehensive adult dental coverage as part of Medicare and Medicaid.
 

 
 

Key Findings - The Case for An Oral Health Revolution

  • Nearly all respondents agree oral health is important for attaining overall health, yet:
    • Three in four Americans say they've experienced barriers, such as high costs and lack of insurance coverage, to accessing dental care.
    • More than half of Americans view the oral health system as either scary, confusing, inconvenient or ineffective. ​
  • ​Half of patients rate oral health as their top personal health concern over heart, eye, skin, digestive and even mental health.
  • Many people share misconceptions about what is covered by federal and state programs.
  • Most patients want dental coverage as part of Medicare and Medicaid.
 
  • Half of patients rate oral health as their top personal health concern over heart, eye, skin, digestive, and even mental health.   
  • Many people share misconceptions about what is and isn’t covered by federal and state programs. But, regardless of their understanding,  
    • The vast majority of patients want dental coverage as part of Medicare and Medicaid.