Tooth Decay On Indian Reservations

Dental caries, or childhood tooth decay, is a concern world-wide. One might wonder why anyone in the U.S. should have to worry about childhood tooth decay with fluoridated water supplies and advanced dental technology. What is even more worrying is the percentage of tooth decay among the Navajo Nation and American Indians overall.  Research has proven that dental health affects your overall health in numerous ways. New ways are being discovered all the time. This puts those populations with poor dental health at risk for many other diseases.

The Navajo Nation

The Native American population suffers triple the amount of dental disease than the rest of the American population. While in 1999, nearly 83 percent of Navajo children presented with untreated tooth decay, that number has been reduced to nearly 70 percent according to a recent study. Although this shows improvement, the number is still exceptionally high in comparison to the rest of the population, three to four times higher than the national average.

The Study

The study analyzed 52 Head Start classrooms consisting of 981 children on the Navajo Nation reservation. While just over 89 percent had had oral disease in the past, nearly 70 percent still presented with untreated tooth decay, while all other races and ethnic groups report only 20.48 percent.

The Reason

The major reason for this is access to dental care. The largest reservation in the U.S., the Navajo Nation covers over 25,000 square miles. Much of the area is remote with only 22 dental clinics serving over 225, 000 people, resulting in a patient-dentist ratio of 100,000 per 32 dentists.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist:

Aside from providing dependable family, general, and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chicago and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.