Right now, roughly one in four (5,073,822) Floridians live in areas designated by the federal government as having a shortage of dentists. Sixty-three of 67 counties in Florida (94%) have at least one shortage area.1
Children and adults without dental coverage are much more likely to face overall health problems, and have much less chance for success. Poor oral health is related to other serious medical problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, oral cancer, and respiratory diseases. These illnesses have a significant economic impact through lost productivity for adults, and poorer school performance for children.2
- Nearly one in five children (ages 1-17) had one or more of the following: toothaches, decayed teeth/cavities, broken teeth, and/or bleeding gums (2011)3
- More than 23% of 3rd graders had untreated tooth decay (2013-14)4
- 34% of senior citizens (ages 65+) have lost at least 6 teeth due to decay or gum disease (2014)5.
- 14% of senior citizens (ages 65+) have had all of their teeth extracted (2016)6
- 60% of Medicaid children did not see a dentist in 2016—that’s 1.4 million children7.
- Only about 18% of licensed Florida dentists participate in Medicaid (2015-16)8
- In 2014, Florida had the lowest dentist Medicaid participation rate of any state9.
In 2016, over one-half billion dollars were billed by Florida’s hospitals for dental conditions (nontraumatic) that otherwise could have been averted by prevention and/or routine dental care.10
Here is the breakdown:
- 166,997 visits were to hospital emergency departments (EDs)
- Total charges for these ED visits exceeded $322 million, or more than $882,000 per day
- Medicaid was the most frequent primary payer for these ED visits, accounting for nearly 40% of visits
- Repeat visits to hospital EDs for dental care are common. In 2015, patients with multiple visits accounted for nearly 35% of all visits for dental care as documented as nontraumatic at total charges of more than $83 million.