Meharry School of Dentistry and the Tenn. Department of Health and Human Services are hosting a day of free dental care for all Nashvillians. Meharry dental students, faculty, and alumni will provide a range of dental services, including cleanings, extractions, and fillings.
The event is this Saturday, September 24, from 8 am to 5 pm, at 1005 Dr. D.B. Todd Blvd., Nashville.
Today in the U.S., it is estimated that 74 million Americans do not have dental insurance and, as a result, they skip yearly check-ups, teeth cleanings, and other routine dental procedures. Meharry School of Dentistry understands the link between oral health and a person’s overall well-being, and why it is so important to be able to serve as many members of the community as they can.
“A lack of dental care can lead to serious disease and disability which Meharry hopes to prevent by offering free service,” according to the dental school. “Since COVID-19, the U.S. has experienced a worsening of the disparities in oral healthcare. As a result, Black and Brown communities increasingly lack access and/or the funds to receive consistent dental care.
“Lack of access to regular preventive screenings puts people at risk for serious diseases, for example, gum disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more—a disease that goes unnoticed and untreated longer.”
Among working-age U.S. adults, over 40% of low-income and non-Hispanic Black adults have untreated tooth decay. Roughly 40% of adults with low income or no private health insurance have untreated cavities.
Low-income or uninsured adults are twice as likely to have one to three untreated cavities and three times as likely to have four or more untreated cavities as adults with higher incomes or private insurance.