U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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  Quality of IHS Health Care

Performance Measures

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Health Topic: Dental
American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children and adolescents experience dental caries at a higher rate than the general U.S. population. Dental caries is an infectious, transmissible disease caused by mutans streptococci, lactobacilli, and other acid-producing bacteria. The bacteria that cause tooth decay are fueled by sweet foods and drinks and other fermentable carbohydrates like white crackers. Over time, the enamel breaks down, resulting first in a chalky white spot that then progresses to a cavity.

Why should I have a dental a sealant?
Surveys of AI/AN children without fail show much higher dental decay rates than the general U.S. population. Dental sealants, a known standard in preventive dental care, are an effective measure for lowering dental decay rates. By reducing the occurrence of dental decay, sealants improve oral health. This represents a cost effective preventive dental treatment.

What is the GPRA measure?
The GPRA measure is the number (not percentage) of sealants given to IHS AI/AN patients during the year.

How is IHS doing?
The IHS 2012 goal was to provide at least 276,893 dental sealants to AI/AN patients. IHS exceeded the goal by 18,841 sealants. The GPRA results below show that in 2012, 295,734 sealants were given to AI/AN. The bars on the graph below show that IHS has increased the number of sealants by 65,439 since 2004. However, beginning in 2010 refusals was removed from the rates. So, the 2004-2009 rates cannot be compared with the 2010-2012 rates.

Number of Dental Sealants Given to IHS AI/AN Patients  (IHS 2013 Goal is to establish a baseline for patients ages 2-15)  NOTE: A higher score is better

View a table of this chart's data.

Year Percent
2004 230,295
2005 249,882
2006 246,645
2007 245,449
2008 241,207
2009 257,067
2010 275,459
2011 276,893
2012 295,734
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To see how IHS is doing on this measure at the Area (regional) levels, click here.