CareQuest Institute for Oral Health and American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) issued several strategic recommendations to improve veteran oral health, highlighting a worrying gap in care and access.
Compared to nonveterans, veterans are more likely to experience worse oral health outcomes, including higher rates of tooth decay, higher rates of gum disease, and an increased need for restorative dental care.
The recommendations are part of a new white paper from CareQuest Institute and AIDPH — Veteran Oral Health: Expanding Access and Equity — that focuses on the need to better understand the significant deficits surrounding veteran oral health.
“This announcement is meant to shed light on the struggles veterans can face with oral health care and offer potential solutions,” said Sean G. Boynes, DMD, MS, vice president of health improvement at CareQuest Institute. “We are proud to partner with veteran organizations and AIDPH to galvanize community stakeholders and care teams to help close these gaps.”
According to the white paper, which includes a review of the latest research on veteran oral health:
- Approximately 42% of veterans report having had gum treatment or bone loss around their teeth as compared to 27% of nonveterans
- Roughly two in five, or 8 million veterans, describe their oral health as fair or poor
- Nearly 24% of veterans live in rural areas, where consistent access to care can be challenging
The white paper details the coverage and benefits for dental services available to veterans, analyzes data to evaluate veteran oral health, and provides strategic recommendations to support equitable oral health for veterans.
“AIDPH, in collaboration with CareQuest Institute, is dedicated to centering the veteran voice in our research, advocacy, and education as we improve the oral health and well-being of the veteran community,” said Annaliese Cothron, DHSc, MS, CPH, executive director of AIDPH. “Veterans deserve equitable oral health. Our community of veteran advocates is committed to pursuing strategic initiatives that innovate in the veteran oral health space.”
The white paper identifies several strategic recommendations that improve access to and quality of care, including:
- Expanding eligibility criteria for veterans to receive oral health services
- Expanding the role of Federally Qualified Health Centers and rural health clinics
- Advancing medical-dental integration in veteran health care
About CareQuest Institute for Oral Health
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health is a national nonprofit championing a more equitable future where every person can reach their full potential through excellent health. We do this through our work in grantmaking, research, health improvement programs, policy and advocacy, and education as well as our leadership in dental benefits, care delivery, and innovation advancements. We collaborate with thought leaders, health care providers, patients, and local, state, and federal stakeholders to accelerate oral health care transformation and create a system designed for everyone. To learn more, visit carequest.org.
About The American Institute of Dental Public Health
The American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) is a 501c3 nonprofit centering health equity as a cornerstone of oral health education and training. We offer educational training for oral health professionals, support student growth and career development in dental public health, and serve as conveners of stature to facilitate systems change in the oral health community. AIDPH was established to pursue our mission of fostering professional excellence and advancing innovation in the education and practice of dental public health. Join us as we create our vision: an equity-oriented workforce prepared to lead. To learn more, visit aidph.org and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.