Breaking down barriers to dental access in rural North Carolina


CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Do you regularly floss? Probably a question you’ve asked yourself at the dentist before.

If this is your worst problem, you are doing pretty well.

Some dentists pull out thousands of teeth a year because people cannot visit the dentist regularly.

A survey found that lack of access to dental care plagues many rural parts of America. One of the reasons the American Dental Association estimates that 67% of all dentists in the United States do not accept patients on Medicaid, insurance for the poor.

To make up for the shortage of dentists, researchers say education must start with children. Even a program as simple as setting aside school time to brush your teeth will help.

One solution is actually to bring the dentist to school.

AppHealthCare actually has a fully portable dentist office in Ashe County.

They go to schools, farms, etc. – to make dental care more accessible.

On Your Side Tonight Greg Simpson used his camera to show us how it works.

We spoke to Dr Amanda Stroud, DMD, dental director of AppHealthCare.

“Being able to travel here for dental treatment is not a barrier for some people. Being able to come in, arrive on time for their appointments, make sure they get the care they need is really something that is difficult to overcome in some families here. Here at AppHealthCare I’m the Dental Director and Chief Dentist, we not only serve the people of Ashe County but also Watauga. Allegheny County and County. These are our brother counties. We have fully portable equipment, we take it out, we install it inside schools. And then we also use this same equipment to be used in our migrant farms for a migrant farm outreach program or a foreign worker health program as it’s called, ”Dr Stroud said.

Tomasa Sanchez, an AppHealthCare customer also spoke.

“I come here, they treat me like family. If you don’t have any money, they give you the option of making your payment or re-processing. It’s important to us because the first time it’s closed, we don’t have to drive like 30 minutes, 40 minutes to go to the dentist, ”Sanchez said.

We’re highlighting gaps and solutions like these as part of our Bridging the Great Health Divide initiative. It is an effort of all of our sister stations.

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