This week we discover a decrease in the rate of early childhood caries, discuss the link between hair keratin and tooth enamel, and learn that South Carolina will provide adult dental benefits under Medicaid starting December 1. Don’t forget to check out our healthy Halloween tips and our new blog series, Why it Matters to Me. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.
1. South Carolina to provide adult dental benefits under Medicaid: Starting December 1, 2014, South Carolina will provide preventive dental benefits to adult Medicaid clients in the state. Previously, South Carolina was one of 16 states that offered only emergency dental benefits through Medicaid. We are seeing this as a growing trend across the country and applaud South Carolina for its dedication to improving the oral health of all. You can read about what other states are doing related to Medicaid adult dental benefits here.
2. A new study shows a link between hair keratin and enamel strength: A new National Institute of Health study found that keratins, the proteins that play a large role in maintaining the strength of hair, are also an essential organic component of tooth enamel. As part of tooth enamel’s protein composition, keratin can influence tooth enamel structure and strength. The study found that people who have had keratin mutations associated with hair disorder also had abnormal enamel structure that resulted in tooth weakness, which increases their risk of dental caries.
3. CDC data shows early childhood caries trending down: CDC data presented at the University of Maryland Early Childhood Caries Conference, which DentaQuest attended, shows a downward trend in early childhood caries in the United States. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research defines ECC as the presence of at least one carious lesion on a primary tooth in a child under the age of 6 years. According to Dr. Bruce Dye, dental epidemiology officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics, the greater proportion of caries experience in the U.S. among 2-5 year olds has clearly shifted towards more restored dental surfaces for all 20 primary teeth. The DentaQuest Institute’s Early Childhood Caries Collaborative has been engaging dentists, pediatricians, oral surgeons, educators and community health workers in developing and testing best practices for managing chronic caries infections in at-risk infants and pre-school children.
4. Genetic test for periodontal disease honored at ADA meeting: The link between genetics and periodontal disease was a focus of this year's annual meeting of the American Dental Association, which took place from Oct. 9 to 14. Interleukin Genetics CEO Dr. Kenneth S. Kornman presented on the topic of genetic testing. The study provides insight into the prevention of periodontal disease and the importance of a personalized approach to preventive care that includes genetics.