Native Youth Voice: Perspectives on Oral Health

The Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) is dedicated to improving the health, safety and overall well-being of Native American Youth through communication, policy development and advocacy. We consistently hear from young people that lack of dental care is a serious issue and top priority for them. According to data from the US Health Resources and Services Administration and Census Bureau, fifty percent of Native youth live in designated dental shortage areas.

As part of a collaborative initiative to address the dental care access needs of Native youth and their communities, CNAY is highlighting the voices of Native youth about access to dental care. Below is a Native youth’s perspective on this issue.

Charles, 18, Fort McDowell Yavapai NationCharles_Yavapai

Valuing Oral Health: “My community takes oral health very seriously.”

Barriers to Dental Care: “We need to have a dental office in our community so we don’t have to drive far to town to get dental care. All that I would like to see in our community is a dental office.”

Community Providers: “Our tribes should be able use creative methods in addressing oral health problems. Having dental providers from my community would give patients comfort and relaxation to learn how to take care of their teeth. It’s because you know them.”

Making Change: “My goal is to become a dentist since there isn’t one on my reservation. That’s how I will help my community.”


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