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 topical fluoride application?
The professional topical application of fluoride is an accepted method for preventing caries. It is appropriate for children,
adolescents, and adults. Fluoride application is also useful when applied to exposed root surfaces. This is especially beneficial for
older patients who are more likely to have root decay and sensitivity.
What is the GPRA measure?
The GPRA measure is the number (not percentage) of IHS AI/AN patients who received one or more topical fluoride treatments during the year.
How is IHS doing?
The IHS 2012 goal was for 161,461 patients to receive a topical fluoride application. IHS exceeded the goal by 7,622 patients. The GPRA results below show that in 2012, 169,083 AI/AN patients received at least one topical fluoride application. The bars on the graph below show that IHS has increased the number of patients receiving a topical fluoride application by 83,765 since 2005. However, beginning in 2010 refusals was removed from the rates. So, the 2005-2009 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,