A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

The People behind the Dental Cuts - Michael & Julie

The People behind the Dental Cuts - Michael & Julie

August 19, 2010

We frequently say on this blog that oral health is related to overall health- oral health problems can lead to other severe health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, stroke, diabetes, and premature birth. Poor oral health can also impact day-to-day activities such as sleeping, eating, and learning.

Unfortunately, with the recent cuts to MassHealth adult dental benefits, we are hearing many personal stories that illustrate the importance of oral health. People on MassHealth can no longer receive fillings, treatment for gum disease, or dentures.

Julie, a recent HCFA HelpLine caller, is seeking help to find crucial dental services for her disabled son, Michael. Michael has severe anxiety and hypertension, among other health complications. He also has dentures, which are sliding out of place because they need routine maintenance- as frequently occurs with dentures, Michael’s gums have receded and his dentures need to be realigned to properly fit. Without this maintenance, he cannot eat properly and is suffering from stomach upset. He is also more anxious than usual due to this extra stressor.

Without comprehensive dental benefits under MassHealth, Michael and his mom are having a very difficult time accessing these critical routine services, and it is taking a serious toll on their overall health and quality of life. It is for MassHealth members like Michael that we must fight to reinstate MassHealth adult dental benefits as soon as possible. For more information on how to speak up for oral health, contact ckeeves@hcfama.org.
-Christine Keeves