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Taking a Bite out of Oral Health Inequities

Taking a Bite out of Oral Health Inequities

Taking a Bite out of Oral Health Inequities Cover

Oral health is about more than just toothaches and cavities -- it can have a huge impact in your overall health. This is why CPEHN, with the support of the DentaQuest Foundation, has engaged more deeply over the past nine months to advance oral health equity for California’s communities of color. Just this month, we published a new policy brief, Taking a Bite out of Oral Health Inequities: Promoting Equitable Oral Health Policies for Communities of Color, to highlight oral health disparities within communities of color, identify some of the causes of these inequities, and share policy recommendations to advance equity for our communities.

Some of the key takeaways from the report include:

  • Oral health is often overlooked as a pressing health issue.
  • Oral health can significantly contribute to school absences and poor academic performance, as well as missed work days and trouble finding a job.
  • Poor oral health can contribute to and worsen serious chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
  • Causes of poor oral health include an inability to access dental providers, barriers due to limited English proficiency, and the cost of dental insurance.
  • Other contributing factors include poverty and food security. As one researcher said, “The disparity in oral health between poor and affluent children in California is the worst in the nation.”

We are discovering through our work that if we want to improve the overall health of low-income, communities of color, increasing oral health outcomes must be central to any health equity agenda. Advancing oral health equity requires a multipronged approach to address access to care, quality of care, and the underlying social and environmental conditions that impact oral health. Check out Taking a Bite out of Oral Health Inequities for more information, and keep an eye on this page for updates on our oral health equity work.

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