Wednesday, October 14, 2009

National Healthcare Reform Addresses Children’s Oral Health

A Kaiser Health News article reports that Congress is trying to boost the number of children in the U.S who receive dental care.

Children’s Dental Health Project developed a chart to compare how different healthcare proposals would tackle this issue.

Children’s oral health drew national attention in 2007 when Deamonte Driver, a 12 year old boy, died from bacteria that spread from his teeth to his brain. Deamonte was on Medicaid and unable to find the dental help he needed.

Since Deamonte’s death, children’s oral health has received more attention from policy makers. A recent report states that for each child without medical insurance, there are more than two children who do not have dental insurance.

Because 95 percent of dental insurance is managed separately from medical insurance, some people believe that dental health is not a necessity.

That is not the case. These two forms of healthcare often go hand-in-hand. In some areas, like sleep medicine, dentists and doctors work together to help their patients.

Dentists are playing a larger role in children’s healthcare by screening for sleep-related breathing disorders, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea can affect children who are obese or have large tonsils or an abnormal jaw. OSA is a serious condition that blocks a child’s airway while they sleep. Because they can not breathe, children wake up throughout the night.

Signs of OSA include loud snoring, headaches, irritability and daytime sleepiness.

Find-a-Dentist in your area who treats OSA.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.