Many dental health experts held high hopes that healthcare reform would include measures to extend oral care benefits to the millions of Americans who have no dental insurance. These individuals are vulnerable to a range of conditions, including tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
However, the bill that was recently signed into law by president Barack Obama contained no such measures. Those who lack dental insurance must continue to fend for themselves when it comes to maintaining their oral health.
The situation has perturbed Ann Slaughter, a Philadelphia-based geriatric dentist. She told Philly.com that many of her elderly patients haven't seen a dentist in 15 years or more because they have been unable to afford treatments.
"We're in 2010, and we haven't made many advances," Slaughter told the news source. "That's the sad part."
While there may have been measures in the bill to expand access for children, there is little to help adults who are struggling with dental conditions that may lead to bad breath.