Across the board, veterans are more likely to experience worse oral health outcomes — higher rates of tooth decay, higher rates of gum disease, and an increased need for restorative dental care — compared to nonveterans. Only 15% of veterans are eligible for dental care through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), with roughly 33% of those utilizing this benefit. CareQuest Institute for Oral Health® and the American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) recently released a white paper, Veteran Oral Health: Expanding Access and Equity, focused on solutions supporting veteran oral health, physical health, and economic security.
This summary underscores the key takeaways:
- Veterans are not effectively accessing dental care. As a result, both veterans and taxpayers are supporting costly care through ED visits and inadequate chronic disease management.
- Loss of work productivity and the inability to remain employed as a result of untreated dental needs underscores the economic impact of inequitable dental care.
- Providing veterans with access to affordable, high-quality dental care will improve their overall health and well-being while reducing immediate and long-term costs.