MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski discuss the latest developments in the opioid crisis and how it has impacted dental health.
Scarborough said there are more prescriptions for opioid analgesics than there are prescriptions for dental care.
“And that’s one of the things that I’ve been seeing in some areas of the country, the people who are addicted to these medications are using them more to get them to do things like, take the toothpaste out of their mouths,” he said.
“So, the idea that we have a huge amount of people going to the dentist who are taking them for other reasons and then the toothbrush, which is the tooth paste, the tooth brush is the thing that’s getting them hooked.”
Brzezinksi added that the U.S. is in the midst of a “historic dentistry crisis.”
Scarborough noted that dentists around the country have been struggling to cope with rising numbers of patients needing emergency care, which has forced them to put patients on hold for longer.
“Dentistry in the United States is not on the rise,” Scarborough said.
Scarborough and Brzeziksi discussed the opioid epidemic and the effects of prescription opioid medication.
Scarborough added that many dentists are not being paid to treat patients who are in need of treatment.
“They’re not paid to look at these people,” he added.
“It’s not the way the system works.”
Scarborough also questioned how many dentures are filled.
“If there’s an emergency, why aren’t they filling them?”
Scarborough said, adding that he was surprised when a patient refused to go to a dentist who was willing to give him a fill.
“I just said, ‘OK, so what’s your excuse?’
And they said, we’re busy,” he recalled.
“He was like, ‘Oh, we just have to fill it because I don’t want to lose my job,'” Scarborough said of the man.
“What’s your explanation for that?
They don’t pay you for this.
They’re just going to sit there and wait for someone to fill that?”
Scarborough added he is not the only dentist in the country to be frustrated with the shortage of dentists.
“There’s no reason to be mad at the system,” he explained.
“The system is supposed to be there to help you with your dental care, not make you pay for it.”
Scarborough, Brzezziak, and Mandy Grunwald all appeared on the “Morning JOE” program to discuss the opioid situation and what they see as the importance of educating the public on the benefits of opioid medication for the recovery process.
“We know that people who abuse these drugs are not getting better,” Scarborough added.
He also said that there is an increasing number of people using the medications to try to control their pain.
“But, you know, the thing is, it’s not a cure, it is not a treatment, it can do nothing to reverse a chronic disease,” he continued.
“You know, they just put the painkillers in the water and they say, ‘Let’s go and die.'”