You may have heard our health system in the US described as “decapitated” because our primary care providers treat the physical health of our bodies, but our heads, including mental health and oral health, are treated separately. Moving towards an integrated health system that treats the whole person will be a crucial step for health systems transformations, and in improving the health of our region.
Here in the Spokane area, programs like The Mighty Mouth, Smile Spokane, and DENT, are helping to raise community investment in Oral Health, but there is a lot of work to be done. A recent article in The Spokesman Review on the DENT program has helped start conversations around the shortfalls in our region's access to care. In Spokane 40% of children have experienced tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten. Over 30% of adults have lost one or more of their teeth to decay. Not to mention with the increasing amount of sugar in American diets, regular flossing and brushing isn’t always enough to fight cavities. We don’t always think of how our teeth relate to our overall health, but tooth decay and gum disease can worsen chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
We’ve recently released our Oral Health Access document, which expresses our commitment to improving oral health access and some suggestions for how we can address oral health as a community. Please read and share!
 Spokane Regional Health District. (Nov 2010). 10 Things You Need to Know About Oral Health in Spokane County.