A new study from Virginia researchers Uma Kelekar, PhD, (Marymount University) and Shillpa Naavaal, BDS, MS, MPH, (VCU School of Dentistry) finds that Americans miss an average of 92.4 million work or school hours annually for unplanned dental visits. The researchers, who are Virginia Oral Health Summit contributors, also found adults with poor oral health and those who could not afford dental care lose more work hours for unplanned care than those with good oral health or affordable dental care. According to Naavaal, the finding is not surprising and affirms the need for affordable, preventive dental coverage. A comprehensive dental benefit for all adults enrolled in Medicaid would provide dental coverage to low-income Virginians, prevent dental emergencies, and help to reduce missed work hours.
Virginia Medicaid's pending work requirements make it vital for enrollees to stay on the job or risk losing coverage. Providing comprehensive Medicaid dental coverage to adults will reduce unplanned dental visits and help ensure working adults can meet state requirements to maintain their health coverage.
Read the full study
to further explore disparities in missed work hours by race, ethnicity, and dental care affordability.