Oral Health is a Right, Not a Privilege | University of Utah Health

Utah has some of the most favorable oral health policies in the country. Residents eligible for Medicaid will have access to comprehensive dental care as soon as next year. This is due in large part to a collective commitment to serving under-resourced communities and making care more accessible.

The University of Utah School of Dentistry, in partnership with University of Utah Health, has been particularly innovative in its efforts to integrate oral health care into general medicine. Exciting new partnerships are forming between dentists and physicians, as well as other professional care. More medical students are being trained to question and screen for oral disease. Patients can receive medical and dental care in just one visit.

Integrating dental and medical care increases the chances of meeting patients' oral health needs in a timely manner. Our research shows that comprehensive oral health care can improve management and care outcomes for conditions such as substance use disorders.

Forthcoming research will focus on the impact of comprehensive oral health care under Medicaid on the management of multiple chronic disease outcomes and cost of care. The integration of medicine and dentistry at University of Utah Health creates unique opportunities for collaborative research. These data can help inform health policies that address oral health inequalities from childhood to adulthood and beyond.

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