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Oral health study roundup

These studies highlight several important topics related to oral health and access to dental care. 

A Review of The Global Literature on Dental Therapists, released in April 2012, provides an extensive review of literature documenting care provided by dental therapists worldwide. According the report, dental therapists can effectively expand access to dental care, especially for children, and the care they provide is technically competent, safe and effective.

Prevalence and severity of dental caries among American Indian and Alaska Native preschool children, released in April 2012, found that more than 62 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children ages 2-5 have experienced dental caries compared with 42 percent of Mexican American, 32 percent of African American, and 25 percent of non-Hispanic white children.

A Costly Dental Destination, released in February 2012 by the Pew Center on the States, looked at how cost and access issues are prompting hundreds of thousands of Americans to take toothaches and other dental problems to hospital emergency rooms. The study estimates that preventable dental conditions were the primary diagnosis in more than 838,000 visits to emergency rooms in 2009.

Oral Health Quality Improvement in the Era of Accountability, released in January 2012, outlines an approach to expand the oral health quality improvement effort through data collection, accountability and new ways of delivering oral health care.

A poll released in January 2012, found more than 78 percent of Maine residents said that they support the creation of a new type of dental care provider. According to the study, more than 516,000 Maine residents live in areas of the state that are confirmed as having a shortage of dentists. Roughly 40 percent of Maine’s dentists are nearing retirement.

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