A Conversation on Oral Health Integration with Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan 

It’s no secret that oral health affects a person’s overall health and quality of life. A simple toothache can turn a good day into a painful one pretty quickly. And, for many, pain is just the beginning. Growing research tells us that poor oral health can lead directly to a higher risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. It can also contribute to depression, poor maternal health outcomes, and sometimes death. Pandemic-related research even shows that it can increase the risk associated with COVID-19.

Despite these adverse effects, our oral health system is often siloed from the rest of our health care system. The notion of dentistry as a field separate from medicine is a historical phenomenon that has been reinforced through legislation, education, and care delivery. Consider more than 65 million Americans lack dental coverage, and Medicare and some Medicaid programs don’t provide oral health benefits to adults and seniors. 

This division places an undue burden on underserved populations who face barriers to accessing basic care. Recent data from CareQuest Institute for Oral Health found that Black adults are nearly seven times more likely to have an unmet dental need than white adultsand nearly 4 in 10 Black and Latino adults reside in the 14 states where Medicaid’s adult dental benefits cover no services or emergency-only care.   

But where there are problems there are also opportunities. CareQuest Institute President and CEO Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan recently sat down with The #HCBiz Show to discuss these opportunities, including the areas of activation that inform CareQuest Institute’s missionFrom research and care delivery to impact investing and innovation advancement, Dr. Minter-Jordan does a deep dive into why oral health matters. 

Listen to the full podcast

Editor's note: You can also listen to the #HCBiz Show on your favorite podcast platform.