Why Millions Of Americans Don't Get The Dental Care They Need

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Flickr user estherase

Why Millions Of Americans Don't Get The Dental Care They Need

Millions of Americans do not have dental insurance, and visits to the ER for oral health problems have skyrocketed. We discuss why many public health experts say the U.S. is facing a dental care crisis - and what can be done about it.

It has been seven years since a 12-year-old Maryland boy died from a tooth infection because his mother could not afford to take him to the dentist. Lawmakers across the country vowed to do something to ensure nothing like that could happen again. But today, nearly 200 million Americans have no dental insurance. And even many who do put off visiting the dentist because their insurer reimburses too little - or none - of the cost. That's one reason more than a third of Americans did not see a dentist last year. And the number of ER visits for dental problems has skyrocketed. A discussion of America's dental health crisis - and some ideas for solving it.

Guests

Dr. Louis Sullivan

chairman and CEO of The Sullivan Alliance; secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush; president emeritus of the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Colin Reusch

senior policy analyst, Children's Dental Health Project.

Dr. Harry Goodman

director, Office of Oral Health Prevention and Health Promotion Administration at Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; as a clinical dentist he worked at community health clinics in New Mexico.

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The Diane Rehm Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.