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Advocates fight for dental care to be part of healthcare reform
Updated: 6/23/2009 7:00:39 PM

Advocates fight for dental care to be part of healthcare reform Dental care remains the most common unmet health-care need of children in the U.S., according to an article in the Washington Post.

According to federal health statistics, at least 26 million children lack dental insurance, more than twice as many as lack medical insurance, even though tooth decay is five times more likely to be found in a child than asthma. The numbers are even higher among adults, where 82 million adults have no dental insurance even though oral cancer kills more Americans than cervical cancer.

"If we could be at the table instead of on the menu it would be great," Kathleen T. O'Loughlin, a dentist in Massachusetts, educator and executive director of the American Dental Association, told the Post. O'Loughlin said that dental care "is an essential part of overall health, and it shouldn't be overlooked."

The advocates of including stronger dental care provisions in any health care plan point to the many links between poor dental health and other medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, that have been demonstrated in the scientific literature.

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