Tooth decay affects US children more than any other chronic infectious disease. It is five times more common than asthma and almost entirely preventable. Between 41% and 55% of children age 2 to 11 suffer tooth decay and upwards of 34% of this decay is untreated. Disparities in dental health, the CDC has termed, "profound." This is explained in part by fact that one-third of the population (over 100 million Americans) lack dental health insurance. That means uninsured children are 2.5 times less likely to receive dental care than insured children. All this matters because oral health is an integral part of both overall physical (systemic) health as well as nutritional health.
Dr. Edelstein begins this 31-minute podcast assessing children's oral and dental health status including how and why oral health effects overall health status and the relationship between obesity and oral health. He discusses the level of adequacy of dental care financing or coverage and the subsequent adequacy of (and barriers to) access to dental services particularly under Medicaid. How relevant provisions of the Affordable Care Act may change care delivery approaches are discussed, the relevant work anticipated by MACPAC and the work of the Children's Dental Health Project.
Dr. Edelstein is a Board Certified pediatric dentist and the 1997 founder of the Children’s Dental Health Project. Dr. Edelstein practiced pediatric dentistry in Connecticut while teaching at both Harvard and UCONN for 21 years. He is currently Professor of Dentistry and Health Policy at Columbia University where he chairs the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the College of Dental Medicine. Edelstein has authored over 100 publications on topics related to pediatric oral health, dental education and health policy. He presently serves as a Commissioner of the Congressional Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). He is a graduate of Harpur College, SUNY Buffalo School of Dentistry, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Boston Children's Hospital pediatric dentistry residency program.