As a child, I was one of those who was on state insurance and considered low-income. I was the kid getting the free lunches at school and sharing them with two friends who didn't have money for lunch, but whose parents made to much to qualify for free or reduced meals. I was a kind and generous child, and I like to think I grew up to be a kind and generous woman. When I see those posts on social media of people who have something tough going on in their life and have started a donation page, I always help out a little bit when I can. Now, I'm the one with the donation page.
I believe in the power of showing compassion in difficult times.
In 2016 the NADP reported that "Some 74 million Americans had no dental coverage..." even though there was an increase in the amount of available coverage offered. State insurance, typically Medicaid or Medicare, covers all doctors, dental, and vision for anyone under 18. Even so, I can only remember going to the dentist a few times growing up. I know at least once I got a bunch of fillings and the dentist didn't wait long enough to see if I was numb before drilling into my teeth. Despite this, I do not have any fears of seeing a dentist. I just don't have the money to spare to go. In a study done by Health Affairs magazine, they noted: "There is compelling evidence that financial barriers to dental care result in serious consequences to oral health and overall health and well-being, especially among low-income adults."
Now due to less than stellar dental care and not having enough funding to see a dentist as an adult, my teeth are rotting and breaking in the extreme. While I do everything recommended to care for my teeth, including brushing, flossing, and keeping up with them on my own, my teeth still continue to decline. Due to hereditary issues with dental diseases, I should have been receiving regular care and simply could not afford it. I feel as though I am losing a part of myself to something that could have been controlled if people cared about everyone having the healthcare they need.
Dental care for adults is not considered an essential health benefit.
But there is a distinctive case being made for the fact that having less than perfect dental care can lead to other health issues. Colgate Professional says, "An unhealthy mouth, especially if you have gum disease, may increase your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes and preterm labor. The case for good oral hygiene keeps getting stronger."
Asking others for money to do something that should be standard healthcare for everyone is a humbling experience, but one I am willing to undertake. Awareness of issues like these is something we all take for granted until someone speaks up about how hard it is to get what we need in our society. I wrote this not just for myself, but for everyone who struggles to find the income to get something as basic as a prescription when they are ill.
If you can spare anything in these troubling times, my donations page is up at Robin's Dental Fund and your compassion will be most appreciated!