This blog is part of a series that will highlight how structural racism in the health care system negatively affects the health of individuals of color. Community Catalyst is committed to exposing and dismantling policies, practices and attitudes that routinely produce cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color in the health system.
The mouth is the gateway to the body and serves as a clear indicator of one’s economic status. Broken, missing or diseased teeth are an unmistakable sign of poverty, and the consequences are far-ranging. Adults with bad or missing teeth have difficulty finding and keeping a job, and children with oral disease are more likely to struggle in school and have reduced self-esteem.
Oral disease is one of the most common chronic diseases. In children, it is five times more common than asthma. But it doesn’t stop there—communities of color experience a disproportionate amount of the disease burden. American Indian / Alaska Native children have four-times more untreated decay than white children. Black and Hispanic children are almost two-times more likely to have untreated dental decay compared to white children.