Oral Health and Primary Care Integration
The U.S. Surgeon General’s landmark report “Oral Health in America” (PDF - 36 MB) brought national attention to the importance of and disparities present in oral health. Furthermore, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report “Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations” (PDF - 3.4 MB) showed that unmet oral health care needs and barriers faced by these populations have a great impact on overall health.
Health centers continue to increase access to oral health care in the communities they serve. According to 2017 Uniform Data System (UDS) data, health center dental programs achieved the following:
- 6.1 million patients served
- 15.7 million patient visits
- More than 17,801 oral health Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) to include dentists, dental hygienists, and dental therapists:
- Dentists: 4,882.4 FTEs
- Dental Hygienists: 2,497.9 FTEs
- Dental Therapists: 31.4 FTEs
- Other Dental Personnel: 10,390.1 FTEs
- Dental sealants on 6-9-year-old children with elevated caries risk increased from 42.5% in 2015 to 50.7% in 2017
- Additional health center data and reporting information
HRSA Oral Health Initiatives
- Learn more about HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care’s current oral health activities, data, and resources through the Health Center Program Fact Sheet: America’s Primary Care Safety Net Working to Address Oral Health (PDF - 200 KB).
- Learn about HRSA-wide oral health initiatives, policy, practice, and resources.
- Learn more about the Oral Health Service Expansion supplement funding opportunity and available technical assistance.
The following resources provide tips, promising practices, and recommendations on improving oral health and primary care integration in health centers.
Date Last Reviewed: August 2018