Dental hygienists are starting to fill a crital gap in oral health in Arkansas, experts say, given the state has a shortage of dentists, especially in low-income rural districts.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2015 reported that most states face a shortage of dentists. This is particularly bad news for rural states like Arkansas, which routinely ranks low in measurements for access to oral health. The report points out that, “this unmet demand will likely exacerbate access problems for underserved populations who forgo basic oral health care because of lack of proximity to a provider, inability to pay for care, and limited oral health literacy.”
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