Dental health & access to dental health.

Essay by tanyacelicaCollege, Undergraduate March 2004

download word file, 13 pages 3.7

Dental Health and Access to Dental Care

Oral health is an integral part of general health and well-being. Good oral health and freedom from oral pain and infection substantially contribute to quality of life and self-esteem. Poor oral health, on the other hand, is an obstacle to good nutrition, can severely affect people's ability to carry out the normal activities of daily life. It is also a risk factor for such major systemic diseases as coronary heart disease. The oral health of Americans has improved greatly over the past 50 years, but there are areas where severe oral health problems remain. Experts estimate that as many as 42 million Americans have no insurance coverage for dental care, and low-income families that have some type of health insurance still find it difficult to obtain quality health care (Summary...). Many people in America without insurance do not see dentist on a regular basis and have poor oral health which can lead to poor overall health (A Solution...).

Constant pain from decaying teeth can make a good night's sleep impossible, causing adults and youths to be irritable and too tired to concentrate at work or school. Gum disease (It is also called periodontal disease and is defined as the inflammation of the structures that surround and support the teeth) can make it painful to chew or eat certain foods (Gum Disease). People with severe dental disease, such as untreated abscesses, can wind up with a deformed jaw or chronic halitosis (bad breath). These last two conditions can additionally cause embarrassment and low self-esteem, make a person less apt to socialize; and more apt to stay isolated - and, in general, just feel miserable.

Community health centers (CHCs) are one of the sources of health care for low-income consumers. CHCs provide health care to...