Poor dental hygiene in poor communities

Poor dental hygiene in poor communities

April 25, 2022

Oceana County

Population 26,815 (Government – Oceana County Michigan, n.d.)

Located along the shoreline of Lake Michigan

Asparagus capital of the world, second largest fruit tree acreage in Michigan

Two million visits a year

Choosing Oral Health

While doing my window observation, seeing the number of Oceana residents with poor oral health made me want to learn more

Working in the Emergency room I hear many of patient’s stories about not being able to see a dentist for several months

Oceana County has one Dental office that excepts Medicaid and adjusts pricing on income

Oceana County availability of dental care

Poverty affects 13.3% of the county’s population (Government – Oceana County Michigan, n.d.)

23.6% of the population depends on Medicaid and 12.5% have Medicare (Data USA Oceana, n.d.)

Dental services are not always included with health insurance, 55% of Michiganders do not have dental insurance (Michigan Oral Health Coalition, n.d.)


Trinity Health




MDA Foundation

“The mission of the Michigan Dental Association Foundation is improving dental health in communities throughout Michigan by helping fund an ever-expanding program of innovative charitable programs and services” (MDA Foundation Improving Dental Health, n.d., MDA Foundation).

Goal: Providing free or no cost dental care to those in need

Trinity Health

Mission: We, Trinity Health, serve together in the spirit of the Gospel as a compassionate and transforming healing presence within our communities

Goal: Becoming the most important health care in the community

Reason’s given for poor oral health

Limited appointments

Open three days a week and limited hours


Months to get an appointment


Pain or shots

Don’t need to

Community Nursing Diagnoses

Community oral health defecate – related to insufficient resources

Dentists’ participation in Public Health programs are limited, receiving limited reimbursements for services provided (Hung et al., 2020)

One community dentist in Oceana County excepting Medicaid

50% of low-income households lack dental care (Barrow et al., 2020)

2 billion dollars a year are spent on ER visits for dental services (Stephens et al. 2018)


To decrease the number of ER visits for dental services by 50% by the end of the 2023 reducing nonemergent ER costs

Outcome Objective One


Integration of care

Instruct daily oral health plan

Providing preventative oral hygiene

Trinity Health primary care offices providing oral health exam as part of yearly physical by December 2024

Outcome Objective Two

Oceana County dental offices providing preventative care with the use of Dental Therapists decreasing cost and extending hours available by December of 2022


More cost affective care

Extended hours for people working

Instruct on visiting every six months

Outcome Objective Three

Trinity Health’s new office includes a full-service dental office for uninsured and under insured residents by 2025


Decreasing ER visits

Same day appointments available

Assisting residents to apply for dental coverage

The need for dental services in Oceana County for low-income residents currently is limited. Oral health is one of the most preventable diseases and is neglected largely in low-income populations. (Ramos et al., 2020) Trinity Health with funding provided by MDA can provide dental care for Oceana County residents who are uninsured or underinsured. MDA Mission of Mercy (MOM) accepts applications for funding of future site plans. Trinity Health will present a plan for evaluation and funding for an affordable dental office in the future office being built in 2023. MDA provides funding for Michigan residents needing treatment of current dental problems, reducing pain and education on current dental problems that need treatment. (Michigan Oral Health Coalition, n.d.) With the new dental office ER visits will decrease by half by the end of the first year open.

Barrow, J., Silk, H., Phillips, R. S., & Riedy, C. A. (2020). Oral Health is Health: The Future is Now. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 31(4), 99-103. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/hpu.2020.0140

Data USA Oceana County MI. (n.d.). Data USA. http://embed.datausa.io

Government – Oceana County Michigan. (n.d.). http://www.census.gov

Hung, M., Lipsky, M. S., Moffat, R., Lauren, E., Hor, E. S., Park, J., Gill, G., Xu, J., Peralta, L., Cheever, J., Prince, D., Barton, T., Bayliss, N., Boyack, W., & Licari, F. W. (2020). Health and dental care expenditures in the United States from 1996 to 2016. PLoS ONE, 15(6), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234459

MDA Foundation Improving Dental Health. (n.d.) Mission of Mercy. https://foundation.michigandental.org

Michigan oral health coalition. (n.d.). Improving Oral Health in Michigan. http://mohc.org


Ramos, D. V. R., Miraglia, J. L., Monteiro, C. N., Borchardt, D., Tribis, L., Sanchez, T. P., Bonfim, D., da Costa Palacio, D., da Luz Rosário de Souza, M., & de Brito Mota, M. J. B. (2020). Risk assessment for oral urgent treatment in Primary Healthcare: a cross-sectional study. BMC Health Services Research, 20(1), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05859-2

Stephens, M. B., Wiedemer, J. P., & Kushner, G. M. (2018). Dental Problems in Primary Care. American Family Physician, 98(11), 654–660

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