A Healthy Blog

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

Oral Health

Lost in the Gap between Medical and Dental Care

We have designed our health care system so that dentists take care of your mouth and physicians are responsible for the rest of your body. However, these two pieces interact in many important ways, and keeping them separate can cause significant complications. Yesterday's Kevin Cullen column in the Boston Globe demonstrates the dangers of separating the mouth from the rest of the body. Read more »

Oral Health in the News

A recent article in the NY Times (How to Manage Dental Costs, With or Without Insurance) does a great job of explaining the importance of including dental coverage in overall health insurance.The article points out the relatively small cost of preventive measures and taking care of problems when they are still small, as compared to the huge costs of fixing problem once it becomes large and overwhelming. Read more »

Oral Health in National Health Reform: Working Together Towards a Healthy Future

The success of our country is based upon the power of people working together to develop creative solutions to everyday problems. Currently, stakeholders from all parts of this nation are speaking up about health care reform. To be successful, these individuals must all come together to guide us towards a health future. This success relies, in part, on addressing the oral health issues throughout the country. Dental decay is an infectious disease caused by bacterial in the mouth. Left untreated, dental disease can interfere with a person’s ability to eat, sleep, speak, learn, and work.... Read more »

Legislature Passes Oral Health Bill

Senate 536, An Act making technical correction in a certain law relative to oral health, was enacted by the legislature today and sent to the Governor for his signature. HCFA supports the bill. The bill is a technical correction to last year’s historic Oral Health Omnibus Bill, signed into law as Chapter 530. Senate 536 clarifies that services provided by dental hygienists in public health settings are billed to third party insurers before MassHealth, when patients are covered by MassHealth and third party insurance. The clarification will strengthen the role of public health hygienists, and... Read more »

Fenway Health Unveils New Dental Clinic

Fenway Health, a Boston-based health center, is doing its part to remind us that oral health is a critical part of overall health. The mission of Fenway Health is to “enhance the physical and mental health of its community, which includes those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, the people who live and work in our neighborhood, and beyond.” As part of this important work, Fenway recently opened a new dental practice in their new building, with a dental chair that looks out over Fenway Park. Located on the sixth floor of 1340 Boylston Street, they are now accepting new patients. Read more »

Committee Hears Childrens, Oral Health Bills

The Health Care Financing Committee held its last scheduled hearing on primary jurisdiction bills today. Included were key HCFA priority bills on children's health and oral health (see our photos here). Kids: The success of Massachusetts in extending health coverage to virtually all children is laudable, but an insurance card alone is not enough to guarantee care. Nearly 16,000 children in the Commonwealth access care through the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP), but the scope of services offered under this program are frequently insufficient to fully address their health needs. CMSP... Read more »

Dental Insurance is Health Insurance!

Oral health is a crucial part of overall health. The implications of untreated dental disease are serious and can be permanent: significant tooth decay, pain, or infection can inhibit eating, speaking, learning and working. Nationally, more than 51 million school and 164 million work hours are lost each year due to dental-related illnesses. Fortunately, dental disease is almost entirely preventable. In order to maintain good oral health, children and adults need access to preventive and restorative care and treatment. Next Wednesday, the Oral Health Advocacy Taskforce (OHAT) will advocate for... Read more »

Governor Patrick Keeps the Mouth in the Body

Oral health is an important part of overall health. Left untreated, dental disease can interfere with a child’s ability to eat, sleep, speak and learn. As we age, the implications of this disease become more severe. Decades of research have confirmed the associations between dental disease and serious lifelong ailments such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and preterm birth. Read more »

Will The Governor Axe MassHealth Dental Benefits? We Say No.

With the news this evening that the Governor will sign the sales tax increase as part of the budget package, due to be signed Monday, the likelihood of the Governor finding budget savings by vetoing spending for MassHealth adult dental coverage lessened substantially. Read more »

Senator Harriette Chandler: True Health Care Must Include Dental Care

At a jam-packed conference hosted by the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum in Boston yesterday, participants were treated to a wide array of incredible speakers discussing the state of oral health in Massachusetts and ways to improve oral health at the state and national level. Read more »


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