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A recent study funded by the W.K Kellogg Foundation has found that there are serious dental health problems among individuals living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Researchers found that 60 percent of adults and 40 percent of children in this population have moderate to severe dental problems, and 90 percent of everyone living on the reservation has signs of tooth decay.
These numbers are three times the national statistic for oral problems, which suggestions that these individuals may be in need of better access to oral care.
"A severe shortage of dentists willing to practice in isolated areas has left many Americans, including American Indians, with ongoing dental problems that threaten their overall health," said researcher Terry Batliner, D.D.S., a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, quoted by Worldental.com.
Batliner added that although many Native Americans suffer from extreme dental pain, they are unable to get access to a dental health professional. This could lead to this population experiencing a variety of conditions including gum disease, which has been associated with the development of diabetes and breast cancer.
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