Native Adults to Travel a Long Distance to Visit a Dental Clinic

Native American dental careMost native adults have to travel a long distance just to visit a dental clinic. Most have a bad experience with a dentist and has made them to distrust them. Today, most Native American children are enjoying better oral health due to the Early Childhood Caries Collaborative that was launched by the Indian Health Service in order to decrease tooth decay as well as improve the prevention of caries among kids under the age of five.

Improvement of dental health was not seen among the adults in Indian County since the last national HIS poll made in 1999. Elders and adults found it too late for help to arrive as dental care remained elusive to them.

IHS plans to conduct oral health surveys in 2015 and another one in 2020. Katy Phipps, an epidemiologist who specializes in oral health, stated that there is no evidence that has been an improvement in Native adult dental health.

Most Native Americans who live on reservations rely on HIS and other tribal facilities that are mostly understaffed. Native Americans, who live in poverty or in areas that don’t have geographic access to dental care, have not seen any improvements.

Native Americans in urban places and don’t have health insurance also find it hard to get tribal dental services. They are qualified for HIS benefits but they can only get treatment from a tribal clinic.

Portland’s Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest provides medical care but not dental services. Most of the elderly Native Americans find it hard to access clinics.

The Indian Health Service made oral health surveys in 1984, 1991, and 1999 and provided a good map of trends with regards to tooth decay as well as periodontal disease. According to the 1999 survey, progress was made since 1984 in decreasing decay and missing teeth among adults.

Post by Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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