A collection of dentistry and health related links/comments for your day.
Baby boomers came of age in an era of unprecedented sexual freedom, when the birth control pill allowed women to control their fertility and sex talk became less taboo. But a new study finds that older women may still struggle with bringing up sex in the doctor's office. Instead, some prefer to turn to television personalities like Oprah alum Dr. Oz for sex advice.
The research came out of a small focus group in Florida, so more work is needed to find out how comfortable the baby boom generation as a whole is with talking about sex. But sexual health researchers have long suggested that adults need sex education, too. Given uneven sexual education over the years — and how modern sex-ed focused almost entirely on teens and college students — some older adults lack basic information about their bodies. And high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in retirement communities suggest that older adults aren't always aware of the need for protection once the risk of pregnancy is past, said Cynthia Morton, a professor of advertising who specializes in health communication at the University of Florida.
"Could it be that we have spent so much time focusing our efforts on 20-somethings and teenagers and maybe even 30-somethings that we are overlooking a group of people that are being defined more and more by the boomer generation?" Morton told LiveScience. "Aging is looking younger and younger."
State laws that place restrictions on teenage drivers and require them to "graduate" from an intermediate license to a full license do seem to prevent fatal crashes involving teens, but only among the youngest drivers.
A new analysis of national crash data published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that between 1986 and 2007, the rate of fatal accidents involving 16-year-old drivers was 26% lower in states that prohibited teens from driving at night and carrying certain passengers, compared to states with neither restriction.
Among 18-year-olds, however, strong graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs were associated with a 12% increase in the fatal crash rate, which effectively cancelled out the benefits among younger drivers. When teen drivers of all ages were pooled together, the link between these programs and the rate of fatal crashes was statistically negligible.
A record 49.9 million Americans were without health insurance during 2010, up almost 2% from the 49.0 million uninsured in 2009, the Census Bureau reported.
The percentage of the population without insurance rose 0.2 percentage points, from 16.1% to 16.3%, though this was not significant at the P<0.1 level, the agency said.
Results from the agency's 2010 Current Population Survey also found increases in the number of Americans living below the poverty level (46.2 million versus 43.6 million in 2009) as well as declines in inflation-adjusted median household income. The proportion of the population with private health insurance overall also declined, as did the proportion with insurance provided by employers.
In a statement, the Census Bureau indicated that these trends were outgrowths of the recent recession, even though the economy was officially in recovery during 2010.
The agency noted that the first years after previous recessions were also typically marked by increases in poverty rates and declining income and health coverage.
Regionally, the biggest increase in being uninsured occurred in the Northeast, jumping 0.6 percentage points from the previous year, to 12.4%. But the 2010 rate was still lower than for any other region.
Southern states, on the other hand, had the highest overall uninsured rate, at 19.1%, but this was actually a slight drop from 2009 when the rate stood at 19.2%.
The Georgia Board of Dentistry has rejected as written a proposed rule change that would have required a dentist's exam and written authorization before public health hygienists could provide basic preventive services in schools, community health centers, and prisons.Enjoy your morning!
The board voted unanimously during its September 9 meeting to reconsider the proposed change again in 90 days.
Dental board President Isaac Hadley, DMD, declined to comment on the vote except to say that it was the third or fourth time the proposed rule change had come up.
Currently, Georgia law allows hygienists to work at dental facilities regulated by the state and county agencies without direct supervision of a dentist. But the Department of Community Health's Dental Provider Manual currently requires direct supervision for Medicaid reimbursement in Georgia, making it inconsistent with state regulations that exempt public health hygienists from the requirement of direct supervision, according to Elizabeth Appley, attorney for the Georgia Dental Hygienists' Association (GDHA). While dentists often go with hygienists to school-based settings so that the public health department can recover Medicaid reimbursement, they do not go in every instance, she said.
The proposed rule change would require that a dentist first examine a patient and issue written authorization for the hygienist's treatment, but would not require that the dentist be present at the facility.
The GDHA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oppose the change, saying it would limit access to care, especially for children in rural and low-income communities.
"The proposed change will create an unnecessary obstacle for children receiving treatment at Head Start centers and in school settings for kids who are already in dire need of dental care," Janeime Asbury, RDH, president of the GDHA, told DrBicuspid.com.
The proposal was originally introduced in January but was tabled after the board heard extensive testimony opposing the change from the FTC, the Georgia Department of Community Health, district health directors, the American Academy of Pediatrics' Georgia chapter, and other community groups.
The proposed changes do allow hygienists to apply fluoride varnishes or rinses without a prior examination by a dentist.