The health of your mouth affects your overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, too many people struggle with oral disease, even though it is almost entirely preventable. Lower-income people and communities of color are more likely to have poor oral health.
Oral health is a social justice issue. To ensure equal opportunity, we must work to improve access to dental care for vulnerable and at-risk populations, including lower-income children and families living in underserved areas. We must commit to preventing this disease and strive for 100% access and zero disparities.
Why Oral Health Matters
- Tooth decay is the number one chronic disease of early childhood. Children can’t sleep, eat, learn or even play, if they are in pain from dental disease.
- Poor oral health during pregnancy can affect the health of both mother and baby.
- Gum disease is an infection linked to other chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
- It is difficult for lower-income adults in Washington to find dental care. In FY2018, just 22.5% of Medicaid-insured adults and 56.6% of Medicaid-insured kids received dental care.
- The health of your mouth is one of the most visible indicators of economic inequality. It’s hard to get a job if you’re missing teeth, or keep a job if you’re in pain from oral disease.