Oral Health Has a Huge Effect on Overall Health

Insider Louisville LogoWhile many adults are focused on staying healthy through exercise and eating right, one area that is closely connected to a person’s overall health and often overlooked is oral health. Inside the mouth aren’t just teeth, but clues to keeping disease away.

The connection between oral health and overall health wasn’t always widely discussed, Cliff Maesaka, the president and CEO of Delta Dental of Kentucky, said in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville.

“Everybody knows the mouth is connected to the body, but in 2000, the surgeon general provided his first-ever report on the state of oral health in America, and it was the first time in about a hundred years anyone had said out loud that the mouth is connected to the rest of the body and things that go on in the mouth affect the rest of the body,” he said.

For more information, please click here.

 

Kentucky Oral Health Coalition hosts meeting in Hazard to increase dental awareness

KOHC logoThe Kentucky Oral Health Coalition and its members – including Passport Health Plan – will host a regional oral health meeting on July 29 in Hazard to increase dental awareness and develop strategies to address the widespread dental-access issues in Eastern Kentucky, says the Kentucky Rural Health Association.

This is the third of four regional meetings this year, welcoming local policymakers, health advocates, health professionals, educators and students.

Dr. Daria “Nikki” Stone, associate professor at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and director of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program in Hazard, will speak at the convening about the dental status of the Eastern Kentucky region, according to Kentucky Health News.

The meeting will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, July 29, at the University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard. It is free and open to the public, but registration is suggested. Click here to register.

For more information about KOHC, go online to kyoralhealthcoalition.org.

 

Oral health project aims to screen thousands of Kentucky children to help improve quality of care

Insider Louisville LogoKids with good oral health are likely to do better in school than those with bad oral health. Few would dispute that statement, or argue with the fact that a child with a toothache will struggle to concentrate on their studies.

That’s why a new initiative designed to measure oral health is so important for Kentucky educators, according to a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville.

The statewide oral health surveillance project launched late last year will screen approximately 6,000 third- and sixth-graders in 60 counties across the Commonwealth, providing essential data for assessing the oral health of Kentucky’s youth.

For more about the project, please click here.

 

New report details progress made and challenges that still exist to improve overall oral health in Kentucky

Kentucky has been proactive in addressing identified deficiencies in oral health access through state-level policy initiatives and funding for oral health services and programs, but despite statewide initiatives to improve overall oral health, there remain populations with poor outcomes attributed to a lack of oral health literacy, residence in rural areas, and limited resources to pay for care, according to a new report.

The report, titled “Oral Health in Kentucky,” was produced by the State University of New York at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies.

Researchers showed that particular population groups appeared to be at greatest risk for poor oral health outcomes: children and adults from lower socioeconomic groups, the elderly, pregnant women, and others.

One thing they notes was that increasing the number of people with Medicaid improved the opportunity for many to receive dental services. However, the large number of the newly insured, their generally poor oral health, a limited network of participating providers, and the transition of the Medicaid program to managed care auspices is challenging the capacity of the oral health care delivery system in Kentucky.

“Kentucky’s support for an adult dental benefit is huge,” Margaret Langelier, project director for the study, said in an interview with Kentucky Health News . “When you have significant oral disease, it can impact your overall health in major, major ways.”

To see the full report from the State University of New York at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies, please click here.

 

Louisville Water educators bring messages of good dental health to families during Chick-fil-A Family Nights

Smile KYWhat better time is there to learn about healthy choices than during a family meal? Louisville Water educators will visit a pair of Chick-fil-A restaurants on select Family Nights in February as part of Smile Kentucky! to talk with families about improving their oral and dental health.

During two special events, children and adults will learn the importance of brushing and flossing, eating healthy, keeping sugar to a minimum, and visiting a dentist regularly for a healthy mouth. The events will be:

  • From 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 18, at the Chick-fil-A St. Matthews (5001 Shelbyville Road, Louisville)
  • From 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 25, at the Chick-fil-A Springhurst (10501 Westport Road, Louisville)

The first 50 children will receive a Louisville pure tap® bottle, Smile Kentucky! booklet, and Colgate Smiles ™ toothbrush.

Passport is proud to back this effort, which supports the Smile Kentucky! initiative to improve the oral health of children and complements the American Dental Association’s National Children’s Dental Health Month campaign in February.

Smile Kentucky! is a community partnership that tackles what the U.S. Surgeon General has called the number one common, chronic childhood disease – tooth decay. Established in 2002, Smile Kentucky! is considered a national model for community partnerships, providing free education, screenings and treatment for children. Visit SmileKentucky.com for more information.

 

Passport’s Adult Members Have an Expanded Dental Benefit – Two Cleanings Per Year!

dentistUp until now, Passport’s adult members were entitled to just one cleaning every 12 months, while Passport’s child members could get one cleaning every 6 months. But effective 1/1/16, Passport has expanded the dental benefits for our adult members, meaning that they can get one cleaning every 6 months, just like the kids!

Preventive dental care is critical to good oral health and overall health. Since the Medicaid and uninsured population have traditionally been underserved in Kentucky and many have significant oral health needs, Passport is making it a special point to promote good oral hygiene for Medicaid members in Kentucky. That’s why, even though research shows that just one cleaning per year would be “enough” for most people who have no risk factors, Passport has decided to err on the side of caution and allow all of our members – no matter their age – to get two cleanings per year. This will help prevent gum disease and cut down on other risk factors so they can take care of their teeth and gums.

Beyond the full cleanings, Passport members will continue to get the following dental benefits:

  • Full checkups with X-rays (adults and children)
  • Certain kinds of oral surgery (adults and children)
  • Fillings, either metal or resin-based (adults and children)
  • Sealants (children only – once per 48 months)
  • Spacers (children only – limit of 2 per 12 months)
  • Crowns (children only)
  • Pin retention for permanent molars (children only)
  • Root canals (children only)
  • Braces (children only – if they’re medically necessary)

Kentucky’s dental problems have long been a source of ridicule, and have real and detrimental impacts on schoolchildren, the workforce and families. In fact, Kentucky ranks 41st in annual dental visits, 45th in the percentage of children with untreated dental decay (34.6%), and 47th in the percentage of adults 65+ missing 6 or more teeth (52.1%). And in 2012, Kentucky had the fifth-highest rate of “toothlessness” in the country among adults age 65 and older.

To see more about what Governor Beshear and the “kyhealthnow” initiative is doing to help improve oral health, please click here. And if you are a Passport member looking to find a dentist in your area, please click here.

 

Passport Puts Focus on Dental Care During March

Preventive dental care is critical to good oral health and overall health. Since the Medicaid and uninsured population have traditionally been underserved in Kentucky and many have significant oral health needs, Passport is making it a special point this month to promote good oral hygiene for Medicaid members in Kentucky. The following excerpt from Gov. Beshear’s KyHealthNow website shows how our two initiatives align:

Kentucky’s dental problems have long been a source of ridicule, and have real and detrimental impacts on schoolchildren, the workforce and families. In fact, Kentucky ranks 41st in annual dental visits, 45th in the percentage of children with untreated dental decay (34.6%), and 47th in the percentage of adults 65+ missing 6 or more teeth (52.1%). Gov. Beshear proposes to tackle this problem with a number of strategies, including:

  • Increase pediatric dental visits by 25% by the end of 2015.
  • Partner with Managed Care Organizations to encourage increased utilization of dental services.
  • Create public-private partnerships to increase to 75% the proportion of students in grades 1-5 receiving twice yearly dental fluoride varnish application.
  • Increase by 25% the proportion of adults receiving fluoride varnish during an annual dental visit.
  • Increase by 25% the percentage of adults receiving medically indicated dental preventive and restorative services, including fillings and root canals, in accordance with evidence-based practices.
  • Partner with stakeholders to increase the number of dental practitioners in Kentucky by 25%.