ACA makes provisions for preventing cavities, gum disease
SUMMARY: For the millions affected by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one change that's been buried under all the political news is that the law mandates more preventative oral care.
Posted: July 19, 2012
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld most of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ACA, many folks may be wondering if this law will affect their oral healthcare coverage. Well, it does. In fact, the ACA makes specific provisions to help lower the national rates of tooth decay, gum disease and even oral cancers.
If you don't recall hearing this on the news, you're not alone. The ACA has been buried in such an avalanche of political discussion that many pundits are only just now picking their way through the bill's lesser-known parts.
One of these is Section 4102, a portion of the ACA so overlooked that Kaiser Health News included it in its list of "10 Things You Didn't Know Were In The Affordable Care Act."
What is Section 4102? Well, it's the slice of the ACA that aims to reduce the prevalence of gum disease and cavities.
The text of this section states that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will "establish a five-year national, public education campaign...that is focused on oral healthcare prevention and education, including prevention of oral disease such as early-childhood and other caries, periodontal disease and oral cancer."
Sec. 4012 also mandates that the HHS will "utilize science-based strategies to convey oral health prevention messages that include, but are not limited to, community water fluoridation and dental sealants."
So what does this mean? Among other things, the federal government will soon start a public education campaign that will stress how terrible tooth decay and gum disease are, while explaining how easy it can be to prevent these conditions.
How to maintain a healthy mouth
It really isn't all that hard, as long as you use specialty breath freshening products. For a start, brushing your teeth with an oxygenating toothpaste can kill bad-breath-causing bacteria and make you less likely to get cavities.
Using a specialty tongue scraper can eliminate more microbes and dead cells, while a periotherapy rinse neutralizes the microorganisms that infect the gums.
Finally, oral care probiotics can replace odor-causing bacteria with other, less harmful strains, changing your oral ecosystem for the better and making it harder for cavity-causing critters to reinvade your mouth.