Atlanta, G.A., July 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Benevis, a leading dental support organization (DSO) for practices focused on family dental care and orthodontics, today published a whitepaper, “The Health-Dental Divide and the Chasm It Creates for Too Many Children.” The paper highlights how the divide between oral health and other aspects of healthcare is in reality a chasm in disadvantaged communities that creates inequitable access to dental health services and adversely affects overall health outcomes.
“The dental divide, defined as the complete differentiation and structural separation of medical and dental care in the U.S., including different systems of professional training, insurance coverage, levels of public funding, and care networks for dental and medical care, results in very different levels of access and outcomes for individuals based on income levels,” said Dr. Mayfield, Chief Dental Officer for Benevis. “For low-income families who have limited or no dental coverage, the divide creates a chasm – a huge obstacle to care – that increases the risk over time of developing chronic diseases. This is especially true for children, who are more likely to have poor oral health from a young age.”
The report outlines the importance of developing good oral health habits at a young age and the challenges low-income families face in finding dental providers who accept Medicaid. Though approximately 40 percent of children ages 2-18 have dental benefits through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), reimbursement rates to dental service providers are very low for these programs, contributing to the limited access to care. On a national average, Medicaid and CHIP programs pay just 61 percent of rates paid by private insurers for child dental health services. As a result, only 39 percent of U.S. dentists accept Medicaid or CHIP.