HRSA Oral Health: Across the Agency (PDF - 581 KB)
About 108 million people in the U.S. have no dental insurance. Even those who are covered may have trouble getting care.
The U.S. has about 141,800 working dentists and 174,100 dental hygienists, but 4,230 Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas with 49 million people living in them.
Anyone who has ever had a toothache knows dental pain can make it impossible to work, study or just carry on the normal activities of daily life. Oral health problems seldom get better on their own and can be both a sign and a cause of disease elsewhere in the body.
The U.S. spends about $64 billion each year on oral health care -- just 4 percent is paid by Government programs.
To improve the oral health of underserved people, HRSA is exploring ways to improve access to oral health care, increase awareness of the connection between oral health and overall health, promote prevention, and improve oral health literacy to health providers and patients alike.
The Oral Health Initiative includes HRSA-sponsored Institute of Medicine consensus studies examining existing oral health activities and programs, regulations, and resources and evaluating policies that could better support oral health care: