American Dental Association (ADA) researchers recently found an unexpected reason for optimism:  More young adults are receiving dental care and coverage as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Yesterday’s report by Donna Domino, Features Editor  @drbicuspid analyzes a once bleak background and summarizes surprising new statistics.


“Adult access to dental care has fallen steadily since the early 2000s, largely because of a steady erosion of dental benefits….The downward trend is particularly pronounced for young adults: Almost 1 in 5 adults younger than age 35 foregoes needed dental care because he or she can’t afford it, and studies show more young adults are resorting to emergency rooms to treat dental emergencies,” said Domino.


According to Domino:

“Although the ACA allows parents to keep their children on their medical insurance up to age 26, there is no similar requirement for dental coverage. Health insurers were required to provide the extended coverage after September 2010.

Now, a positive “spillover” effect of the ACA — increased dental coverage, more utilization of dental care, and greater affordability of such care — is detailed in a new report by ADA researchers (Medical Care, August 2014, Vol. 52:8, pp. 715-719).

Read Domino’s complete explanation of how ADA Health Policy Institute researchers Marko Vujicic, PhD; Cassandra Yarbrough, MPP; and Kamyar Nasseh, PhD; examined the impact of the ACA policy on three outcomes: dental benefits coverage, dental care utilization, and financial barriers to dental care: