Oral health and overall health are fundamentally intertwined.
Our health revolves around a delicate interplay of everything working well together -- and, our mouths have a critical role.
Oral health is an important component of overall well-being for Virginians of all ages and abilities. Tooth decay, an avoidable condition, can lead to malnutrition and missed school hours among children. Periodontal disease has been tied to a significantly higher risk of heart attacks and diabetes. Regular, preventive dental care can reduce the risk of dental disease and help manage chronic disease processes in the body. Read the latest studies.
What if your primary care provider assessed all of your health care needs, including your oral health?
We are striving to create a health care environment that supports integrated care. Our goal is for primary care practitioners to incorporate oral health services, education and referrals into practice. Here are some ways we're accomplishing this goal -- and, why it's so important.
- Children. Most children under two (about 67%) who are enrolled in Medicaid and FAMIS have been immunized, but less than one-third (about 26%) have seen a dentist. We are increasing oral health services for young children by educating pediatricians about reimbursable, primary care oral health services, like fluoride varnish application, and encouraging referrals for dental care. Learn more about our Early Dental Home activities.
- Adults with chronic disease. Diabetics face an increased risk of periodontal disease, research shows. We're partnering with Richmond Memorial Health Foundation and The Daily Planet in Richmond to create a patient-centered medical home for homeless diabetics that includes oral health care. Learn more about oral health and diabetes.
- Pregnant women. Periodontal disease in pregnancy can lead to preterm and low birth weight babies. Through education, advocacy and interprofessional programs, we're working to ensure prenatal care includes oral health services. Learn more about oral health and pregnancy.