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Dental Insurance and Obama Care

Since Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), dental insurance is out of reach for millions of Americans.

Obamacare or the ACA was able to, just barely, extend health insurance to several million Americans this year; mainly to people who have never been able to afford insurance. It brought about change in the world of medicine that had not been addressed before. Some examples are the act brought an end to "pre-existing" conditions and several other huge changes. Mental illness and substance abuse treatments must be provided as well.

Theoretically, the ACA was intended to help American's maintain a healthy lifestyle while not breaking the bank. Who would this be accomplished? By offering care before one gets ill, the theory was that the cost of this would certainly outweigh huge medical bills if and when someone did become ill.

Many people are asking the question, "If substance abuse and pre-existing conditions are covered, why not dental?"

In a report issued by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), almost 30% of older Americans have no teeth, or few, if any, due to lack of dental care. One-third have untreated tooth decay, even though poor dental health is linked to heart problems and other health concerns seniors already face, such as diabetes. It should be noted that none of the government sponsored medical plans, such as Medicare or Medicaid, pay for any dental care. Not even the most basic, such as routine exams, annual cleanings, or even x-rays. This clearly needs to be addressed.

Each year in the USA alone, over 7,000 people die of various types of cancers of the throat, tongue, mouth or pharynx. Sadly, many of these are seniors, who if they had access to basic dental care may have been able to survive. Not only the elderly are at risk in this category. Young children, especially those who live in poverty or low income homes are three times more likely to suffer with tooth and gum disease.

Children of Latino decent are the most likely to never receive basic dental care and therefore are the largest group of children to have poor oral hygiene.

The issue is two fold. One, the lack of affordable dental insurance is a big obstacle in obtaining dental insurance. Parents are often concerned about providing food and shelter first, so they put dental health on the back burner. Many cannot take time off work, or lack a means of transporting children to the dentist. This needs to change, or our next generation sadly will have little chance of obtaining that great smile.