Poverty is becoming an increasingly prominent issue in the US, and this is having a significant effect on the level of health care that young children are being given. This seems like an unusual situation given the advancements that have touched society, but the recent economic downturn has had a significant impact on young families across the nation. In total, it is estimated that there were more than 16 million low income American children on Medicaid who were not receiving regular dental care in 2009, and this number has certainly not decreased during the economically fraught period since.
This number includes children who had not even attend a routine exam. According to the Pew Center, in the States there is now a large number of youngsters being treated with blackened teeth and a overwhelming number of cavities. This is a worrying trend, and one which suggests that sustained economic hardship is forcing families to ignore their children’s oral health needs and make sacrifices that could have significant consequences in the children’s later lives. It is not a situation that can be easily ignored, and has indeed caught the attention of economists and politicians throughout the US.
The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be escaped, especially as increased patient awareness is helping many to understand the key links between oral bacteria and the onset of respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases. With this in mind, it is clear that the continued threat of austerity and a double-dip recession is forcing families to make extremely difficult and unwise decisions when it comes to investing in dental care. There is a growing demand for more affordable health care to be made available to families that currently live below the poverty threshold.
It is a curious time for Americans: technology is empowering them with information that would have been beyond their reach years ago, yet the economic climate is not allowing families to use this knowledge to their advantage. It can only be hoped that a consistently improving employment market helps to lift families out of poverty and put them into a position whereby they can provide the very best dental care for their children.