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Oral Health

  • During 1988-94, non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American adolescents were twice as likely as non-Hispanic white adolescents to have at least one untreated caries lesion. (Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States, 2000, with Adolescent Health Chart).

  • Social, economic, and cultural factors and changing population demographics affect how health services are delivered and used, and how people care for themselves. Reducing disparities requires wide-ranging approaches that target populations at highest risk for specific oral diseases and involves improving access to existing care. (Source: Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health)

  • Disparities for various oral conditions may relate to income, age, sex, race or ethnicity, or medical status. (Source: Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health)

  • Although common dental diseases are preventable, not all members of society are informed about or able to avail themselves of appropriate oral health- promoting measures. (Source: Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health)

  • Not all health providers may be aware of the services needed to improve oral health. (Source: Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health)

  • Mouth and throat cancers are the sixth most common cancers in U.S. males and the fourth most common in African American men. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oral Health 2000)

  • Proven preventive measures, such as water fluoridation, dental sealants, and smoking prevention and cessation programs, can markedly reduce oral and dental diseases, yet they are often unavailable to those who need them most. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oral Health 2000)

  • Among low-income children, almost 50% of tooth decay remains untreated and can cause pain, dysfunction, underweight, and poor appearance - problems that greatly reduce a child's capacity to succeed. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oral Health 2000)

Excerpt from the Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health

" More information is needed to improve America's oral health and eliminate health disparities. We do not have adequate data on health, disease, and health practices and care use for the US population as a whole and its diverse segments, including racial and ethnic minorities, rural populations, individuals with disabilities, the homeless, immigrants, migrant workers, the very young, and the frail elderly. Nor are there sufficient data that explore health issues in relation to sex or sexual orientation. Data on state and local populations, essential for program planning and evaluation, are rare or unavailable and reflect the limited capacity of the US health infrastructure for oral health. Health services research, which could provide much needed information on the cost, cost-effectiveness, and outcomes of treatment, is also sorely lacking. Finally, measurement of disease and health outcomes is needed. Although progress has been made in measuring oral-health-related quality of life, more needs to be done, and measures of oral health per se do not exist."

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