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Rural/Remote Communities and Oral Health

Rural residents tend to have higher rates of caries and tooth loss while lower use of emergency dental services as compared to their urban counterparts

Despite its importance, minimal data is present regarding  Canadian rural oral health and access to dental services. Available documentation from Canada and other developed countries comparing health services between rural and urban areas suggests significant disparities in oral health (Health Canada, 2000Sekiguchi E et al., 2005).

In comparison to urban population groups, rates of edentulism among adults and untreated dental caries among children were higher in rural population groups. Unhealthy dietary habits, difficulty in accessing and utilizing dental care services, inadequate insurance coverage and rural isolation all can be identified as reasons for poor oral health status in rural populations (Walter MH et al., 2007; Vargas C.M et al., 2003;134;Vargas C.M et al., 2003;19).

Challenges for Rural and remote communities to access oral health care services

  • Limited availability of dental workforce
  • Extensive travelling and limited public transport
  • Cost to access urban oral health care services
  • Limited communication/health service technology