Tooth and gum disease is a leading cause of infections, heart disease, and poor nutrition, especially in the elderly. The fact that our supposedly civilized country has so neglected this necessary health care is a sorry fact. A country is judged by the way it treats the least among it. Poor people in the United States have lost man of their teeth before the age of 40 and the percentage who need dentures despite advancements in dentistry is appalling.
Several years ago our church janitor, a gentle man who had a tough life with some personal problems, lived in our church apartment and cared lovingly for our church building. He didn’t have the money to pay for dental care and had a horrible abscess and pain from rotten teeth. he kept buying ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil are the brand names). He took large quantities of this drug for a long time. The end result was that the drug caused a bleeding ulcer and we found him deaf in the church school in his 40s, having bled out from his bleeding ulcer in a pool of blood. This was a preventable death.
The number of Americans dying of preventable complications of dental caries is rising at an alarming rate. There is no excuse for our country to neglect its citizens like this. Health care should be a right and not a privilege and this should especially be true of mental health care.
How much money are we going to waste paying for persons who come to ERs with advanced terminal illness that was preventable? How many productive years will be lost? How many kids will grow up without a parent, under financial stress and inadequate supervision?
This news article paints this grim picture in more detail.