Overcoming obstacles to good dental care for all
Re your June 14 editorial, “Make sure poor get dental care”: Once again the Gazette has highlighted and expressed a very definite need regarding oral health care and the indigent.
Overall health and well-being must include a healthy oral dentition, which can be particularly difficult for those with specific financial and community-based needs. As noted, there are particular venues that of necessity attempt to deal with these issues.
Unfortunately, as has been repeatedly pointed out, there are significant barriers to obtaining optimal oral health, which include the onerous aspects of dealing with the Medicaid system, the underinsured segment, and the lack of willingness of some individuals to pursue treatment until their problems are almost overwhelming. These components combine to put a number of individuals at risk with needs that should be addressed.
Laudable efforts such as Dentistry from the Heart, held recently at a local dental office, and the Mission of Mercy attempt to address the problem to a certain extent. The first Mission of Mercy event to be held in New York state will occur in June 2014 at Hudson Valley Community College. It will bring together hundreds of dentists, hygienists and auxiliary personnel, along with lab technicians and dental supply companies — all donating their time and expertise over a two-day period to treat uninsured and underinsured individuals from the entire Capital Region. The hope is that this will become an annual event held at various venues throughout the state to serve the needs of the underserved.
On a preventative basis, the continued utilization of fluoride in its numerous manifestations is by far the best public health measure for precluding the onslaught of dental cavities and reducing the restorative complications arising from untreated decay. Similarly the American Dental Association is in the process of developing a new health care model, the Community Dental Health Coordinator.
This program will train individuals from specific communities to be community health workers, with dental skills focusing on education and prevention. They will work in underserved communities where residents have no or limited access to dental care and they will be able to provide limited clinical services and help connect patients to dentists who will provide treatment.
Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge relating to dental problems in some segments of the community lends itself to these ongoing difficulties. This is a means of addressing those issues within the communities themselves.
Taken together, these measures can markedly improve the access of all individuals to better oral health care and ultimately to a healthier general population overall.
Michael R. Breault
The writer is past president of the New York State Dental Association.
Leaders spending money in all the wrong ways
What are our elected officials thinking? It is going to cost $60 million to $100 million for President Obama to attend a conference in Africa, and they want to cut the food stamp program.
How much food can you buy for $60 million to $100 million? How many families would it feed? I think he needs to cancel the trip and invite them to this country; it would be a lot cheaper and the money would stay in this country.
And what about Gov. Cuomo giving tax breaks to new companies, and overlooking the small businesses that have stuck it out through the recession, and countless other challenges?
He also wants to build three or four casinos, but at the same time cut aid to schools. Our taxes could be better spent on roads and bridges, and upgrading educational facilities. That would also produce permanent, high-paying jobs, probably as many or even more than the casinos.
Encouraging gambling is not the answer.
Watching a smoker die is tougher than those ads
I’m so glad the subject of the quit-smoking commercials has come up here [June 2 Gazette] .
I have spent time on both sides of the issue, as a smoker and one who tried for years before I finally succeeded in quitting. I fully understand the addiction and how difficult it is to break free!
When you are terminally ill with cancer, it is never quick and it is never painless. When there is literally nothing that can be done for you, you die. However, the pain your loved ones experience never really goes away. We miss them every single day!
Yes, these ads are disturbing to watch but they portray the reality of cancer from smoking. Ultimately, the symptoms and medical efforts to keep the patient “comfortable” get even more distressing. Sadly, I have had to watch it firsthand, more than once.
If these ads can keep just one person from starting, or just one person quits smoking, they will be worth it.
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