Hidden costs of dental neglect

Source: Doug Merlino, The Fiscal Times on MSN Money

Four years ago, 12-year old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache. Extreme neglect had led to an abscess that spread to his brain and killed him. The Drivers were a desperately poor family in Maryland that had trouble locating an oral surgeon who would work for Medicaid rates. But whether rich, poor or in between, regular dental care has declined as out-of-pocket costs have risen during the Great Recession. Few people know that good dental care can be the key to good overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a full menu of diseases can result from poor dental care, including endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart), cardiovascular disease (clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to oral bacteria) and premature birth and low birth weight babies, to name a few.

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