A report on health trends in Massachusetts released Tuesday takes Cape Cod to task for high youth rates of hepatitis C, opiate overdoses, a dearth of physicians for lower-income patients — and barely a trickle of fluoridated water…
The Massachusetts Health Council report also criticized the lack of fluoridated water in several communities, including communities on Cape Cod.
The report says all 25 of the largest cities and towns in Massachusetts have community water fluoridation programs except five: Barnstable, Brockton, Chicopee, Worcester and Springfield.
“(Fluoridation) improves the oral health of everyone in the community,” Servais said. “It’s cost effective.”
Her organization recommends the state appoint a dental health director to work with local boards of health on community fluoridation programs.
The Otis [Air National Guard] base in Bourne is the only community on the Cape with fluoridated water, according to the Massachusetts Dental Society website.
Karen Gardner, CEO of the Community Health Center of Cape Cod in Mashpee, said fluoridation is a political issue for towns.
She said the Cape’s nonprofit health centers have worked with the Oral Health Excellence Collaborative and “tremendously improved access to oral health regardless of insurance coverage.”
Among other initiatives, the Community Health Center of Cape Cod has a mobile dental unit it takes to senior centers to do cleanings, evaluations and X-rays, Gardner said.
MassHealth coverage also is improving. After dropping all adult coverage except for cleanings and extractions in 2010, MassHealth started adding benefits in 2012. As of July of this year the subsidized insurance program provided coverage for fillings in all teeth; by May of next year it will offer complete coverage for dentures, according to the Massachusetts Health Council report.
“There were really no surprises here,” Gardner said. She said the problem areas highlighted in the report are issues “Barnstable County already is addressing.”…
Title of article: Report: Overdose deaths, hepatitis C climbing steadily on Cape