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The Native Americans and Their Teeth : Lack of Oral Hygiene in Native Americans a Cause for Concern

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The paper on Native Americans and their oral health shows us as to how they have not been giving importance for the care of their teeth, which has led to many problems especially for the children. Parents have to take care of the way in which children brush their teeth as this can lead to a serious issue known as periodontal disease which affects the gums.Teeth reflect the overall health of the body and cannot be afforded to be neglected. Elderly people as well have to take care as they are in an age where teeth can fall easily and there is no remedy than to keep dentures. This too can lead to problems as if they are ill fitting, the person cannot chew properly causing digestion problems. Hence, regardless of the age, it is necessary to take good care of our teeth. The following references “INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE PHS 1955” and “PEW Charitable trusts "The Oral Health Crisis Among Native Americans." answers the question as to whether the Native Americans cared for their oral health.  


Oral Health is the dental health of a person but is hardly taken seriously by an individual. The mouth is a breeding ground for infections which reveals the general health of the body. Dental care means taking care of the teeth by brushing twice a day with a good fluoride toothpaste and using floss to clean the gaps between the teeth. A healthy well-balanced diet, regular visits to the dentist and replacing the toothbrush once in every four months goes a long way in maintaining one’s teeth (American Dental Association, n.pag). Community Dental Health Coordinators can do their part to provide knowledge and infuse people with trust to take care of their oral health. They will as well assist the patients in taking them to dentists or fixing an appointment (American Dental Association, n.pag). The purpose of writing this essay is to show how the Native Americans did not maintain good oral hygiene. Their children were the most affected as they had cavities even in childhood which was difficult to treat (PEW Charitable trusts, n.pag).The early Native Americans took good care of their teeth by having a healthy diet and used chewsticks for brushing (Dr. Garlock, n.pag). Teeth act as a mirror of the whole body and their oral health can determine about the health of a person.

Oral Health in the Native Americans adults:

The oral hygiene and health of the Native Americans were not good as the majority of them had tooth decay and periodontal gum disease. All of this led to pain, swelling and falling of the tooth. Periodontal disease is when the gums get infected in teenage and slowly progresses as one becomes old. According to a survey,17 percent of the adults had good teeth and the rest had decay and periodontal disease. This can lead to a spurt in sugar levels or poor levels of sugar control in already diabetic patients. Tobacco usage in any form was as well a factor for the periodontal disease in adults (INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE PHS, n.pag).

Oral Health in children and teenagers:

Tooth decay was more prevalent in children whose age group was between 2-5 years with almost 79 percent of them having it which increased with age. Children who had dental sealants did not have much decay. Teenagers started to use tobacco from the age of 13 and as they do not possess adequate access to dental treatment, they were left with untreated caries. There was a shortage of dentists which as well aggravated the disease and the cure was delayed. Teenagers were affected by Localized Juvenile Periodontitis as well which is a rare disease (INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE PHS, n.pag). Some of the infants had what is known as baby bottle tooth decay (PubMed Central (PMC), n.pag).

Oral Health in the elderly:

The elderly are at more risk for periodontal disease, root decay and oral cancer. Since some of them use dentures, which may not be the correct fitting ones, these can cause health issues like improper digestion as they are unable to chew their food properly. A survey taken in 1999 found that two percent of the elderly had an oral lesion and

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