- The Surgeon General has reported that oral health problems can cause infection and signal trouble in other parts of the body.
- Periodontal (gum) disease in pregnant women has been associated with preterm and low birth weight babies, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia.
- Children frequently have poor oral health and, in California, their oral health is substantially below national targets. By third grade tooth decay affects almost two-thirds of California children.
- Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease — five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in 5- to 17-year-olds.
- Nationally, nearly one in three people over age 65 has untreated dental cavities, and one in four between the ages of 65 and 74 has severe periodontal disease.
- Left untreated, dental diseases can result in severe pain and infection leading to various health problems, difficulty with the activities of daily living, and in very rare cases, death.
- Denti-Cal (Medi-Cal’s dental program) covers 8.5 million low-income, elderly, and disabled people in California.
- While every major medical, dental, and public health organization recommends that children be seen by a dentist by age one, only one in ten children under age 2 who are enrolled in Denti-Cal have had a preventive dental visit.
- Less than half of dental practices accept Denti-Cal patients, and access to specialty care, such as pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, is very limited.
- Only one in five pregnant Medi-Cal beneficiaries have had a dental visit. It is widely recognized, however, that sound oral health is essential to the overall health of both mothers and unborn children.
Source: California HealthCare Foundation
Did you know? Denti-Cal covers most dental services:
• Diagnostic and preventive dental services (e.g., examinations, x-rays, and cleanings)
• Emergency treatment for control of pain and infection
• Fillings and tooth extractions
• Root canal treatments
• Prosthetic appliances (e.g., dentures)
• Orthodontics for children who qualify