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Oral Health and Primary Care Integration

The U.S. Surgeon General’s landmark report “Oral Health in America” 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 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 2020 Uniform Data System (UDS) data, health center dental programs achieved the following:

  • 5.2 million patients served
  • 11.3 million patient visits
  • Approximately 17,583 oral health Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) to include dentists, dental hygienists, and dental therapists:
    • Dentists: 4,873 FTEs
    • Dental Hygienists: 2,486 FTEs
    • Dental Therapists: 30 FTEs
    • Other Dental Personnel: 10,194 FTEs
  • Dental sealants on 6-9-year-old children with elevated caries risk increased from 42.4% in 2015 to 48.7% in 2020
  • Additional health center data and reporting information

HRSA Oral Health Initiatives

Resources

The following resources provide tips, promising practices, and recommendations on improving oral health and primary care integration in health centers.

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