Efforts to Expand Access to Oral Health Care to Continue in 2019

4 trends to watch at the state, industry levels

In 2019, many states are likely to continue efforts to expand access to dental care to more of their residents through multiple approaches, including extending dental coverage to those newly eligible for Medicaid and making greater use of dental therapists.

Nationwide, oral disease rates are down and the proportion of Americans with dental insurance is up, but inequities persist in both health status and access to care. More than 73 million people, disproportionately low income, lack dental insurance, while nearly 57 million live in areas with dentist shortages. Those who get their dental benefits through Medicaid face another problem: Most dentists don’t participate in the federal-state program that targets low-income Americans.

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