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Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Adults with Disabilities Can Improve Their Health and Well-Being

By Cheryl Fish-Parcham,


Many adults with disabilities experience extraordinary barriers to good oral health. Without good oral health insurance coverage in Medicare or many state Medicaid programs, many people with disabilities cannot afford the care they need. Additionally, few dental offices provide accommodations to serve adults with physical or other disabilities.

Without oral health care, people with disabilities face challenges to maintaining their overall health and well-being. Poor oral health can impede people’s ability to eat, interact socially, get a job, and feel well – adding to the difficulties people with disabilities already face in daily life. Policy changes at the federal and state levels, as well as adoption of best practices by providers and programs could improve care for those adults.