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Centering Equity
Our 2022–2024 strategic plan places equity at the center of our work to ensure everyone can achieve good oral and overall health.
Only about 22 percent of low-income adults access dental care. Join the campaign to increase health equity by expanding access.
Oral disease is almost totally preventable.
Learn how you and your community can choose prevention.

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.
Keeping people healthy by preventing disease saves money for families, businesses and taxpayers. It’s the right thing to do because everyone deserves good health.
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