Dentists Could Provide The First Line Of Defense For America’s Health

Dentists may be the un-utilized answer to America’s health care woes.

Trips to the dentist could include some basic primary screening of patients.

It seems that people will forgo trips to their primary care physicians in a tight economy but trips to the dentists remain a high priority to consumers of health care.

Dentists could perform such primary care as blood pressure monitoring and blood screening for high cholesterol and diabetes; catching symptoms early.

Based on those findings, the researchers determined that 26 percent of U.S. children did not see a general health care provider (physician, physician assistant, nurse, nurse practitioner), but more than one-third (7 million) of those children did visit a dentist at least once in 2008.

One-quarter of U.S. adults did not visit a general health care provider, but nearly a fourth (13 million) of those adults visited a dentist at least once in 2008.

Eighty-five percent of the adults and 93 percent of the children had health insurance. This suggests that many of those who did not see a general health care provider may have had access to general care, but chose not to seek it, the researchers said.

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