Poor oral health is linked to various diseases including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. While Native American Connections does not provide dental care, we encourage you to learn what you can do to maintain good oral health.
Oral health can be impacted by other chronic diseases like diabetes. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. Research suggests that people with diabetes are at higher risk for oral health problems, such as gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) and periodontitis (serious gum disease). People with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more sus-ceptible to bacterial infection, and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.
Good oral health is important for your child’s development too. AI/AN children, ages 1 to 5, have the highest rates of tooth decay in the United States. To address this oral health crisis, Native American Connections and the Arizona Advisory Council on Indian Health Care and other oral health partners throughout Arizona have teamed up to create positive change. The Strong Teeth, Strong Kid Campaign raises awareness of the importance of dental milestones for American Indian children ages 0 to 5 years. The Campaign S-milestones will help ensure children grow up with Totally AHHH-SOME Teeth! Visit strongteethstrongkid.org to learn more.
Native American Connections supports legislative actions to add a Dental Benefit for Pregnant Women or a full Adult Dental Benefit to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). AHCCCS is Arizona’s Medicaid program.
Native American Connections is a member of the Arizona Oral Health Coalition and OPEN, the national Oral Health Progress and Equity Network. Participation in the Coalition and OPEN is free and a great way to learn more about oral health data, clinical efforts, legislative policy and funding to improve oral health care across Arizona and the United States.