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Dental/Oral Health Impacts People’s Well-Being

Impacting physical, mental, and emotional well-being, oral health is a critical and complex issue that goes beyond straight teeth and a white smile, according to a white paper released today by the Center for Rural Affairs.

“More than a Smile: An Examination of Rural Dental Health Care in Nebraska,” written by Lauren Taylor, with help from Jordan Rasmussen, looks to raise an understanding of the link between oral and total health and finds primary concerns about dental health care in rural areas nationwide, with an emphasis on Nebraska.

“These barriers to dental health care access are multifaceted and are often exacerbated for rural residents,” said Rasmussen, policy manager for the Center for Rural Affairs. “While strides have been made to improve access to dental care, disparities continue in rural America.”

Among the issues are rural dental health care delivery, the need for more dental health providers, insurance and Medicaid coverage. The connection between oral health and total health are strengthened as the state of Nebraska proposes to implement complex requirements for those seeking to access dental care under the state’s Medicaid program.

For more information or to view “More than a Smile: An Examination of Rural Dental Health Care in Nebraska,” visit

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