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.
View a table of this chart's data.
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To see how IHS is doing on this measure at the Area (regional) levels,