North Dakotans for Dental Access
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Oral Health Access for ND Tribes

North Dakota Dental Care Facts:
Lack of access to dental care is an important issue for North Dakota’s tribes. There is a high unmet need for dental care within the Native population, due in part to the lack of dentists available to serve both reservation and off-reservation Native populations.  American Indians also have a higher prevalence of cavities and untreated tooth decay in all age groups compared to the general US population.  And there are few dental cavities prevention programs that target Native American children.
Dental therapists would allow dentists to expand their care to more patients. While they had been successful around the world for decades, it was tribes in Alaska that brought these dental providers to our country in 2004.
A proven solution to improving dental access
The Grand Forks Herald, Fargo Forum and Minot Daily News published an op-ed by Dr. Donald Warne on how dental therapists can improve dental access to native tribes and others in North Dakota. Check it out here, here, or here!
Video shows dental therapist stabilizing the oral health of Alaska Natives
The National Indian Health Board produced a video highlighting the work of a dental therapist in Kake, Alaska.
Dental therapists have increased access to care for 40,000 people in 81 rural Alaskan communities since 2004. The University of Washington recently published a study which found that in just one decade, Alaska Native children and adults in communities with access to a dental therapist experienced a significant increase in preventive dental care services.

United Tribes of North Dakota passes dental therapy resolution
In September, the United Tribes of North Dakota unanimously passed a resolution requesting that North Dakota allow dental therapists in the state. The United Tribes of North Dakota is the inter-tribal association of five federally recognized tribes located in North Dakota and was founded in 1968 to further the common goals of Indian Tribes and Nations.
Click here to read the full resolution.  

America Doesn't Have Enough Dentists, a free-market publication, published an article on how states are trying to license mid-level dental practitioners, to address their oral health care shortages. To read more about the lack of dental health professionals, as well as what places like Minnesota, Texas and North Dakota are doing or considering doing by making dental therapists an option for dentists to add to their team, click here.

Facts: Oral Health Access for ND Tribes
  • Over 80% of Native children aged 2-4 years have tooth decay;
  • For those with special needs gaining access to a dental provider requires a significant wait time (as long as six months) and requires the client to travel upwards of four to five hours by car. Travel may be cost prohibitive and is also straining for a patient with special needs
  • 83% of Native children between 6-9 years of age had a history of decay in their baby or permanent teeth, compared to 45% of kids in the general U.S. population.
  • 59% of Native adults have gum disease;
  • 78% of Native adults 35-44 years and 98% of elders (55 or older) have at least one tooth removed because of decay, trauma, or gum disease.

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