GUEST LETTER: UA should include dental care in health insurance plans

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Creative Commons | The Daily Wildcat Dental care can often be outside of students' budgets, yet it has a large role in their wellbeing. The UA should include dental care in its insurance plans.

Dental health is important for our campus and community. Oral health has been linked not only to improved physical health but emotional health as well. How is it that we provide so many ways for students to be healthy – a state-of-the-art recreation center, free health insurance for our graduate and doctoral assistants, a campus pantry with free food staples, etc. – but dental health is not part of our health insurance? 

By including preventative dental services as part of the health insurance coverage, we can ensure students receive the oral health care they need to be the healthiest and most successful they can be. 

Based off Campus Health's 2018-2019 premiums, dental coverage, at $394 annually, is even more expensive than Campus Care health insurance, which is $290 annually. 

If you are choosing between groceries and dental insurance on a student's or graduate assistant’s salary, it’s not always feasible to spend that $394. As the university works to ensure students are prepared for the future, what better place to start than dental cleanings? 

Chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and premature births, are linked to oral infections, which can be prevented through regular cleanings. 

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I urge members of the governing board of The University of Arizona to subsidize preventative dental services, including teeth cleanings, x-rays and comprehensive exams as part of Campus Care. 

Providing such services would be on par with other state universities, including the University of Minnesota, the University of Colorado, Denver and the University of California, Los Angeles. Not only will the University of Arizona continue to fulfill its mission in training tomorrow’s leaders, they will do so in a way that ensures students’ health and well-being through a healthy smile. 


Jessica Seline is a master's of public health student at the University of Arizona.



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