There is a high prevalence of oral disease in the Alaska Native population, much of which goes untreated, creating a large discrepancy between the level of their oral health and that of the general population. The causes of this discrepancy are multiple--a major cause being the lack of access to care, especially in remote Alaska Native villages. Improving the oral health status of Alaska Natives will require treatment of current disease and initiation of an effective program to prevent oral disease. Cooperation between the Alaska Native organizations, dental health aides, the dental profession, and the government will be important. A strategy that combines addressing the disease currently present and preventing the occurrence of disease in the long run is the only strategy that offers a sustainable solution.
Comment In: American Journal of Public Health. 2005 Nov;95(11):1880-1881; author reply 1881