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Child at the Dentist

Too many Ohioans cannot get affordable dental care in their communities – and the problem is getting worse.  They live in pain, miss school or work and, in extreme cases, develop life-threatening infections. Tooth decay is preventable, but it is the number one chronic childhood disease. 


Those most likely to have oral infections are the least likely to be able to access care. They include children of low-income families, people living in rural communities, the working poor, seniors and people with developmental challenges.


We need to modernize the dental care workforce. Dental providers such as dental therapists are making it easier for underserved children and families and those in underserved areas to get high quality, affordable dental care where they live.

Regardless of income, getting dental care remains the most common unmet health care need among children, and is second only to prescription drug coverage as the greatest unmet health care need among adults. (2017 Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey)

1 in 5


children in Ohio reported at least one untreated cavity.



of school-aged Ohio children already have a history of tooth decay.



of children in Ohio do not have decay-preventing dental sealants.

Improving Dental Equity in Ohio

Where you live should not determine your health.

Ohioans for Dental Equity is a diverse coalition of organizations across Ohio who understand the need to improve access to oral health care for all Ohioans and create a dental workforce that truly represents the patients they serve.


We recognize that a variety of  issues, including the impacts of systemic racism and a lack of understanding of the relationship of oral health to total health have created limitations in care provision and in the dental workforce. In care provision, people of low income and people of color are disproportionately underserved. In the dental workforce minorities are underrepresented among dentists and dental hygienists.

Addressing a Health Care Crisis

Affordable care is out of reach for too many Ohioans.


It is the number one unmet health need for children and low-income adults in our state. More than one million Ohioans live in places where there are not enough dentists, and many more cannot afford dental care. Tooth decay is a silent epidemic and is the leading chronic illness among children. 

Oral health care is linked to some of the most significant health issues faced by Ohioans, specifically heart disease and infant mortality. Ohioans without oral health coverage - either through their insurance or a dentist shortage in their area - are being left behind.


We have the opportunity - NOW - to stop another health epidemic.


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Contact Us

Are you interested in joining our coalition to build a network of advocates to bridge gaps and ensure that every Ohioan - no matter where they live - has access to oral health care? 

Send us a message, today.

Thank you for your interest in Ohioans for Dental Equity. A member of our organization will get back to you soon.


110 Northwoods Blvd


Columbus, OH 43235



© 2020 by Ohio Public Health Association. Proudly created with

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