Oral Health Group
Feature

Editorial: Doctor, Doctor… Teach Me, Teach Me

February 16, 2017
by Catherine Wilson


US-based The Pew Research Group has a special unit following oral healthcare. Recently, it released a blog on three issues facing Americans (yes, it translates to us) oral healthcare: affordability, affordability, affordability.

Dental care is one of the most unmet healthcare needs in the United States. Lack of insurance coverage and access to providers, even for the insured, drives this problem. These are the three issues:

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1. Use of dental therapy gains momentum
There is growing interest in dental therapists—mid-level providers who work under the supervision of dentists to provide preventive and routine restorative care. A growing body of research has found that dental therapists provide high-quality, cost-effective treatment and improve access to care for underserved population.

2. School-based sealant programs:
The pros and barriers
Recent research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows significant progress in increasing sealant rates. CDC analysts found that if the seven million low-income children without sealants were to get them, it could prevent 3.4 million cavities over four years and save up to $300 million in treatment costs.

3. Changes to the Affordable Care Act will affect dental coverage
Although the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is uncertain, majorities in the Senate and House voted in January on a budget bill that would strip away major provisions of the 2010 health reform law, including Medicaid expansions under which more than five million adults have gained dental coverage and subsidies to purchase insurance in the individual marketplaces for which more than 10 million enrollees qualify. 1


And in other news…
Two-Thirds of Packaged Foods & Drinks in Canada Contain Added Sugars
An analysis of more than 40,000 commonly available packaged foods and beverages in Canada has found that 66 percent of these products—including some infant formulas and baby food products and many so-called “healthier” foods such as yogurt, juice, breakfast cereals, and snack bars—have at least one added sugar in their ingredients list, according to research from Public Health Ontario (PHO) and the University of Waterloo.

In this study, “added sugars” are defined as all sugars added to foods by the manufacturer plus the sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. These naturally-occurring sugars are considered “added sugars” in this study because fiber slows down the absorption of sugar, and the fiber is removed during processing (e.g., fruit juices) or is never present in these types of foods (e.g., honey). Added sugars are particularly concerning as they tend to be consumed in much larger quantities than naturally-occurring sugars found in foods such as bananas or a glass of milk. Added sugars can also be added to foods and beverages that normally contain little, if any, sugars, said the researchers.

Eating and drinking excess amounts of sugars are associated with a variety of health problems. However, there is limited research detailing the amount of added sugars in Canada’s food supply. This study provides a baseline snapshot of the added sugars in packaged products commonly found in grocery stores. 2

Resources
1. The Pew Charitable Trusts Research & Analysis
2. www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/contents/view_breaking-news/2017-01-16/two-thirds-of-packaged-foods-drinks-in-canada-contain-added-sugars/#sthash.5poghxCD.dpuf