North Carolina has made noteworthy progress in the arena of oral health in recent years, yet inequities in access to care are unacceptably pervasive. Poor oral health results in more than just tooth decay. It has consequences that dramatically lower quality of life, impacting overall health, self-esteem, the ability to learn and employability. While there is a proven connection between individual health literacy and health outcomes, inequities in oral health among North Carolina residents are largely a function of how our oral health care system is structured.
The Portrait of Oral Health in North Carolina is intended to provide a rich overview of the current state of oral health in North Carolina, acknowledging the progress that has been made since the 1999 NC Institute of Medicine Report, while highlighting the challenges that persist and the opportunities for systemic change.