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A closer look at our efforts to improve access to oral health care

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The Network invites others who are interested in exploring similar opportunities to contact Jill Krueger, Director, Northern Region Office.

People from rural and low-income communities, racial minorities, individuals with disabilities and the elderly suffer disproportionately from tooth decay and gum disease, and are less likely to visit the dentist than other Americans.

In addition, in 2017 nearly 63 million people in the U.S. lived in dental health professional shortage areas (DHPSAs). As the name implies, these are geographic areas with a shortage of dental providers.

Through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health, the Network conducted research and analysis, and identified innovative laws and policies that expand access to oral health care in Minnesota, where over half of the state’s counties are considered DHPSAs.

While the research focused on Minnesota, the laws and policies discussed have national relevance.