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UK Against Fluoridation

Monday, April 28, 2014

Fluoridated USA

Dental care: Tennessee’s forgotten health crisis
Dr. Michele Blackledge, D.D.S.
Last week I examined a 29-year-old woman who had never before seen a dentist. As I probed her mouth she reacted with a battery of questions: What are you doing? What’s that for? How does it look?

It looked awful. Her teeth are decayed, her gums are compromised from periodontal disease and she suffers from significant dental pain, which led to the visit.

Such cases are far more common than you might imagine. Every week I treat patients in their 20s whose mouths are filled with decay, after years of ignoring their oral health. Some, like the woman described above, grow up without dentists, and as adults suffer from “dental phobia.” So rather than visiting a dentist they rely solely on emergency room visits for pain relief, which adds to congestion and unnecessary expense at our hospitals.

The sad fact is Tennessee is experiencing a serious dental health crisis. Over one-third of the population in our state did not visit a dentist in the past year, nearly one-third (31.5 percent) of Tennesseans over the age of 65 have lost all their teeth, and more than half (53 percent) have lost six or more teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A key cause of this problem is a shortage of dentists. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services categorizes 94 percent of Tennessee counties (89 of 95) as having dental health professional shortage areas.......


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