Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Dental Download: September 26, 2014

This week, we learn that American adults often lack access to quality dental benefits, young women need to improve their oral health, and millions of Americans who are accessing healthcare for the first time don’t understand their benefits. Join in the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

The Atlantic reporter Olga Kazhan learned firsthand recently that American adults often lack access to quality dental care when she attended a Mission of Mercy event in Maryland. Only 12 states provide comprehensive dental benefits for adults through their Medicaid programs and three offer nothing at all. Learn more about the need to expand adult dental benefits here.

According to a study published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease, young pregnant women, non-Hispanic black or Mexican-American women, and lower income and less educated women, need to improve their oral care. Women have a higher risk of experiencing oral health problems and it is especially important for pregnant women to receive proper oral health care.

We love this byline in Healthy Cells Magazine about preventing the spread of bacteria that causes tooth decay and how to properly manage risk. We always encourage open conversations with your dentist about your risk for dental disease and remind parents not to put their child’s pacifier in their own mouth to clean it.

The Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicaid benefits has allowed millions of people to access healthcare benefits for the first time, but it turns out that many of those people don’t understand how to use them. Understanding your healthcare, called health literacy, is an important part of staying healthy. This is just as true for understanding your dental benefits to maintain good oral health.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Dental Download: Friday September 19, 2014

This week, we learn about the negative effects of plastic beads in toothpaste, discuss the fate of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and discover that people should have no more than five percent of total calories from sugars a day. Join in the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1. Fate of Children’s Insurance Program is Called into Question at Senate Hearing: On Tuesday, a Senate hearing set the stage for a coming debate over whether the federal government should continue financing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  CHIP has helped cut the uninsured rate for children in half, to about 7 percent in 2013 from 14 percent in 1997, when it was enacted. It provides coverage for about eight million children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor, but cannot afford private coverage. CHIP also provides a comprehensive pediatric dental benefit. DentaQuest supports the continuation of this program.

2. Dental and nutrition experts call for radical rethink on sugars intake: In the United States, 92 percent of adults aged 20-64 have experienced decay in at least one of their permanent teeth. Current guidelines from the World Health Organization recommend that no more than 10 percent (50g) of total calories come from sugars, with five percent (25g) as a 'target'. However, the latest research from the University College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine suggests that five percent should be the absolute maximum, with a target of less than three percent.

3. Why dentists are speaking out about the plastic beads in your toothpaste: The tiny plastic beads found in many popular toothpaste brands are approved by regulators, but dentists are becoming increasingly alarmed that the beads could cause more dental hygiene problems than they solve. The beads do not disintegrate and are not biodegradable, and dentists are concerned that they're getting stuck in the tiny crevices between the teeth and gums. This can lead to gingivitis. Over time that infection can move from the gum into the bone that holds your teeth, and can result in periodontal disease.

4. New Medicaid policy increases the rate of children receiving vital oral health care in Texas and Florida: University of Florida researchers found that a Medicaid policy change in Florida and Texas that reimburses the pediatricians and other medical primary care providers for basic oral health screenings and cavity prevention has increased the likelihood of children receiving these essential services by 20 and 25 percent. Untreated tooth decay occurs in 25 percent of kids living in poverty. This new policy will increase the number of Medicaid-enrolled children who receive preventive dental services. Click here to learn more about pediatric oral health prevention.

5. American Dental Association Offers Online Education for Dentists in Long-Term Care: 1.3 million nursing home residents face some of the greatest challenges to accessing dental care of any group in America. Through Action for Dental Health, a nationwide, community-based movement that aims to improve dental care for the underserved, the ADA plans to train at least 1,000 dentists to provide care in nursing homes by 2020.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

We Are Only as Important as the Impact We Have on Others: Mission Month 2014

By Fay Donohue, CEO

To improve the oral health of all – that is the mission of DentaQuest. It’s our passion and our reason for being.

DentaQuest is improving oral health in so many ways. We are on the new Health Insurance Marketplaces with individual and family dental plans and many people now have dental insurance for the first time. We are the Medicaid carrier in many states. We provide back office dental benefit management to hundreds of health plans. We work to strengthen dental care safety net offices in every state so care is available to individuals and families in need. Our Institute is using the latest scientific advances to develop best practices for preventing dental disease. And our Foundation is getting communities thinking about the importance of having good oral health and making sure it is part of health policy conversations.

We are focused on improving oral health every day – processing claims, paying bills, building IT systems, selling new accounts, creating new products, answering phones, enrolling dentists, building networks. And because of this intense focus, we have become the leading voice on oral health. Today, we are honored to serve more than 20 million members in 30 states. We really are making a difference in the lives of people.

This week, we are kicking off our annual mission month.

Over the next 30 days, DentaQuest employees are leaving their desks, phones and computers and heading into our neighboring communities to roll up our sleeves and work. In Maryland and Virginia, we are painting the lobby at Mary’s Place, a community health center. In Florida, we are cleaning up parks and community common spaces in Miami Dade. In Texas, we are sorting food at the Capital Area Food Bank. In Massachusetts, we are painting and landscaping at Lee Academy, a pilot pre-school/elementary school in Boston. In Wisconsin, we are working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Milwaukee. In Colorado, we lending our hands at the Mission of Mercy free care dental clinic in Henderson. In Tennessee, we are helping to prepare for an AIDS walk. In California, we are assembling health kits.  Where there are people, there is the need for good oral health.

Good oral health matters… to good health and it matters to opportunity.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Dental Download: Friday September 12, 2014

This week, we discover that coffee might not be bad for your teeth, learn that parents believe healthy smiles impacts kids success in school and discuss why millions of children are not getting preventive care. Join in the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1. New Colgate Survey Finds Nearly 70 Percent Of Parents Believe A Healthy Smile Can Impact Success In School: According to the recent Colgate study, a majority of parents believe a healthy smile can contribute to academic success – 83 percent recognize that maintaining good oral health can keep a child from missing school, while 43 percent report that a dental related illness has kept their child home from school. Several studies have demonstrated a connection between poor dental health and low grade point averages and in some cases, children with poor oral health are nearly three times more likely to miss days at school than their peers. This study shows importance of improving access to care for children, which is why we supported the inclusion of a pediatric benefit under the Affordable Care Act and have prioritized incorporating oral health into school-based health.

2. Press Pass: Gov. McAuliffe unveils health care plan: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced this week a new 10-point health care plan, “A healthy Virginia.” Part of this plan offers dental coverage for pregnant women. McAuliffe plans to authorize an emergency regulation adding dental coverage to the benefits offered to pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid or FAMIS Moms. Pregnant women with periodontal (gum) disease can be up to eight times more likely to go into premature labor, according to the state. For more information on healthy moms and healthy children click here.

3. CDA Presents: How will ACA affect dental insurance, dentists, patients?: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have far-reaching impact on dental insurance, dentists, and patients, according to a presentation at the California Dental Association's “CDA Presents” conference. More low-income children and adults will be covered, and insurers will scrutinize claims to see if dentists are following established protocols for improved outcomes.  One of the law's main benefits allows consumers, for the first time, to compare the prices and coverage among insurance companies.

4. Millions of children not getting recommended preventive care: Millions of infants, children and adolescents in the United States did not receive key clinical preventive services, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These services prevent and detect conditions and diseases in their earlier, more treatable stages, significantly reducing the risk of illness, disability, early death, and expensive medical care. The Affordable Care Act expands insurance coverage, access and consumer protections for the U.S. population and places a greater emphasis on prevention. Read more about preventive care here.

5. Tall, grande, denti: Boston University researchers find coffee can benefit oral health: Researchers at Boston University's Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine have recently found that there are oral health benefits to drinking coffee. Researchers found that coffee, which contains antioxidants, can help fight gum disease. The study also found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a small but significant reduction in number of teeth with periodontal bone loss.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Dental Download: September 5, 2014

This week, we learn how dentists might help fight the obesity epidemic, discuss which foods and beverages are best for your teeth and discover that solid-head power toothbrushes may retain less bacteria than hollow heads. Join in the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1. Healthy Teeth and Gums Lead to Lower health Care Costs: A recent study that involved checking the health and dental insurance records of 338,891 people with one of five conditions (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy), found that periodontal therapy can improve health. The researchers report that within 4 years, people who had treatment for gum disease had lower medical costs and fewer hospitalizations compared with people who didn’t have treatment.. For more information click here.

2. Study: Solid-head power toothbrushes may retain less bacteria: According to a new study in the Journal of Dental Hygiene, power toothbrushes with a solid head retain significantly less bacteria compared to those with hollow heads. The researchers found that microbial counts were lower in the solid-head toothbrush group than in the two hollow-head toothbrush groups in nine out of 10 comparisons.

3. American Dental Association Releases CDT 2015 Codes: The American Dental Association (ADA) announces the release of CDT 2015. New books, training tools, and an app help dental professionals stay current on dental coding. The new codes go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. For more information visit

4. Dentists Help in Fight Against Obesity, Study Finds: A study, published in the Sept. 1 Journal of the American Dental Association, found that counties with a higher number of dentists per capita have strikingly lower rates of obesity than their peers, even within the same state. The researchers analyzed data from 2,841 counties across the United States. Among the factors considered were the percentage of obese adults – those with a body mass index of 30 or greater – and the number of primary care physicians and dentists per 10,000 people.

5. What To Eat For Healthy Teeth: 6 Fortifying Foods to Boost Oral Health: Our foods and dietary habits affect our mouth’s ability to stop bacteria that contributes to plaque and cavities. Numerous studies have found that antioxidants and other essential nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and other everyday foods boost the body’s immunity while helping to promote good oral health. To boost your oral health, this article recommends that you eat cheese, drink black coffee, eat gummy bears, drink red wine, eat steak, and drink green and/or black tea. For healthy menu tips when planning your next BBQ or party click here

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

2014 Safety Net SolutionsTM John Rosetti Centers of Excellence are Community Dental Programs in KS, ME, OH, and PA

By Mark Doherty, DMD
Executive Director, Safety Net Solutions

The DentaQuest Institute proudly presented the 2014 John Rossetti Safety Net Solutions (SNS) Centers of Excellence awards at the 2014 Primary Oral Health Conference in Florida.

I look forward to presenting these awards every year. The awards honor the challenging and uplifting work of community health centers in making dental care available to all. They also honor the legacy of Dr. John Rosetti, a friend and mentor, who dedicated his career in the U.S. Public Health Service to the oral health needs of underserved people. The DentaQuest Institute named its annual Safety Net Solutions Centers of Excellence Award after John to honor his spirit of excellence in public health leadership. The 2014 Centers of Excellence winners are programs where leadership in oral health practice management has led to sustained improvement in access to care and better oral health for many more patients.

Here are the 2014 John Rossetti Safety Net Solutions Centers of Excellence:

  • Flint Hills Community Health Center based in Emporia, Kansas, has become increasingly more efficient and is now functioning according to a more sustainable business model. Since collaborating with the Institute’s Safety Net Solutions team, the health center stabilized its balance sheet, improved its scheduling processes, decreased the patient no-show rate from 20 percent to 13 percent, and increased patient visits by 17 percent.
  • Health Partnership Clinic, based in Olathe and Paola, Kansas, successfully transitioned from a free clinic to a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in just 18 months. Collaborating with the Institute’s Safety Net Solutions team, the clinic improved its administrative infrastructure, patient flow, and operational processes. Patient visits have increased by 450 percent and preventive services for patients less than 21 years of age have increased by 142 percent.
  • Fish River Rural Health, located in Eagle Lake, Maine, has become increasingly more productive and effective in providing care to the local community. Since collaborating with the Institute’s Safety Net Solutions team, Fish River Rural Health decreased the patient no-show rate, increased revenue and more than doubled its patient base, which has allowed it to achieve financial sustainability and serve many more individuals. 
  • Columbus Neighborhood Health Center in Columbus, Ohio was funded to receive technical assistance from Safety Net Solutions by the Ohio-based Osteopathic Heritage Foundations. This health center faced the dual challenges of a high no-show rate and a large number of uninsured patients. Through work with the Safety Net Solutions team, Columbus Neighborhood Health Center was able to add many more children to their program. It also reduced patient no-show rates, increased the number of overall visits, and closed the gap between net revenue and expenses.  
  • Esperanza Health Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has become more productive and effective in providing oral care in their region. Since collaborating with the Institute’s Safety Net Solutions team, the clinic has increased patient visits by 53 percent, decreased the no-show rate, and increased preventive services provided to patients less than 21 years of age by an astounding 700 percent.
DentaQuest Institute’s Safety Net Solutions program works with safety net dental programs because we believe in their mission of providing high-quality clinical care to underserved populations.  Through customized technical assistance, Safety Net Solutions guides programs through the practice improvement process to assist them in achieving their goals in areas such as increased access, strengthened financial viability, and improved oral health outcomes. Our philosophy is to work collaboratively with administrators, dental directors and program staff to develop strategies that are realistic and achievable.

Friday Dental Download: August 29 2014

This week, we discover a touchless image navigation that could change dental surgery, learn about a new toothbrush and discuss how pediatricians can offer new dental recommendations. Join in the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL

1. Pediatricians Recommend Fluoride: Dental caries (tooth decay) is the most common chronic disease in children in the United States. Good oral health starts at birth. A new report in Pediatrics, strongly recommends that parents use fluoride toothpaste, even with the youngest children, to prevent cavities. On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued new recommendations on tooth care. The Academy urges all children to use toothpaste with fluoride once their teeth appear, regardless of their risk level for cavities. AAP’s recommendation is that children up until age three should use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste when they brush their teeth. Fluoride plays a strong role in strengthening teeth and helping to protect children from dental caries
2. Build a Toothbrush, Change The World. Or Not: Mike Davidson, President and Chief Designer of MD Brush, believes he and his partner, dentist Mike Smith, have invented the world’s perfect toothbrush. To remove the bacteria that cause gum disease, dentists say you should hold the brush so the bristles are at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Sounds easy enough but most people don't. Davidson's brush has an unusual handle that automatically puts the bristles at the correct angle. Click here to learn more about proper brushing techniques.

3. Did You Know? Forty percent of pregnant women have some form of gum disease or tooth decay! Why?  Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make a woman more prone to gum disease or gingivitis.  It’s important to have regular dentist appointments during pregnancy to monitor the health of mom’s gums. Moms and other caregivers should also be aware that cavity causing bacteria in their mouths can be passed to their young children, via sharing spoons as they feed their baby. Click here to read more.

4. Touchless image navigation will change dental surgery: The modern dentist has access to a range of imaging tools that can aid in surgical procedures. Now, an experimental workstation could make existing diagnostic and surgical images even more user-friendly: the images can be manipulated without touching the display. A new workstation was presented in a study published in Imaging Science in Dentistry (June 11, 2014). The touchless workstation enables a person to interact with a computer using normal human behaviors, such as hand gestures, by tracking them with motion-sensing hardware and recognition software.

5. Health Talk: When “just cleaning” is not just a cleaning: There’s more to your annual (or bi-annual) dental cleaning than you think. Oral health professionals ‘tailor’ your experience to your specific needs and your dental health. All cleanings are designed to remove plaque (soft buildup), calculus (hard buildup, also called tartar) and stains from your teeth. But there are multiple ways to accomplish this.