Tuesday, March 28, 2023


Nashville mourns six dead in the latest mass shooting, the EPA takes public input on a proposal to clean up Pennsylvania's drinking water, and find ways to get more Zzz's during Sleep Awareness Month.


A shooting leaves six dead at a school in Nashville, the White House commends Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to pause judicial reform, and mayors question the reach of state and federal authorities over local decisions.


Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

'Untreated Crisis' as Concern Mounts Over Florida's Poor Oral Health


Thursday, December 29, 2022   

Florida leads the nation in the number of individuals, nearly 6 million, who are living in Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas.

Sixty-six of Florida's 67 counties lack the amount of professionals needed to provide care, according to U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration data. Advocates say the shortage is of crisis proportions leading to significant impacts on general health as they say poor oral health is linked to impaired school learning, heart disease and even death.

Dr. Frank Catalanotto, founder of Floridians for Dental Access, said part of the problem is the significant cost of dental care. He noted in Florida and nationally, thousands of people with toothaches take their problems to an emergency room.

"The physicians in the emergency rooms aren't prepared to deal with this, so the patient gets antibiotics and pain medication and then told to see a dentist tomorrow," Catalanotto pointed out. "Well, if they couldn't afford a dentist today, they are not going to afford one tomorrow."

Catalanotto reported of the 150,000 who went to the emergency room in 2019, 4,000 of them were admitted to the hospital because the dental infections were life-threatening. As of 2020 and 2021, there were 12,264 dentists in Florida, according to the state Department of Health, and not all of them take Medicaid, which provides coverage for low-income individuals.

Most dentists in Florida are concentrated in large urban counties, with very few dentists in many rural counties. Three counties -- Dixie, Glades and Lafayette -- have no dentists. State health data show three other counties -- Union, Gilchrist and Franklin -- each had just one.

Catalanotto noted more research is connecting the dots on how this disparity is impacting the health of school children and adults.

"If you're not learning, you're not going to get an education," Catalanotto emphasized. "And for adults it's way more serious because there is now very good strong scientific literature about the relationship, for example, between gum disease, periodontal disease and diabetes."

At last count in Florida, Catalanotto said fewer than one in five dentists, just 18%, participated in Medicaid in 2016. He added the scary part of the crisis to him is how little the public knows about how oral health impacts their everyday health so, his group's focus is to spread awareness and eventually land on concrete solutions which get to the root of the problems.

Disclosure: Floridians for Dental Access contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The Los Angeles City Council recently voted to allow the Department of Water and Power to convert Scattergood Power Plant near Playa del Rey to burn a blend of hydrogen gas and natural gas, something environmental groups say would create air pollution. (Facewizard/Wikimedia Commons)


Environmental groups are seeking greater input as California puts the finishing touches on its application to become a hub for hydrogen fuel productio…

Social Issues

This month marks 160 years since the first Medal of Honor was awarded by President Abraham Lincoln. More than a dozen of the 65 recipients alive …

Social Issues

160 years ago, Civil War soldiers were awarded the first Medals of Honor. Now, a Medal of Honor Monument will soon be built on the National Mall in …

A 2021 Congressional report said tens of thousands of COVID-19 infections, as well as hundreds of worker deaths, were traced to meatpacking plants in the United States at the onset of the pandemic. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The meat processing industry continues to face scrutiny over labor practices in states like Minnesota. Proposed legislation would update a 2007 law…

Social Issues

New findings suggest health effects stemming from child maltreatment can be passed on to the next generation. In South Dakota, leaders in early-…

The average annual pay for a fast-food worker in the U.S. is $27,040 a year, or approximately $13.00 an hour, according to ZipRecruiter. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle will pay workers at its former location in Augusta, Maine as part of a settlement over labor law violations…


One Arizona mayor is among the more than 2,800 elected city officials in Washington, D.C., this week for The National League of Cities' Congressional …


Congress is considering three bills that would sidestep the Endangered Species Act to de-list the Northern Continental Divide and Yellowstone grizzly …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021