A Study of the Alignment of Rural Workforce Policy with Access to Oral Health Services in Rural Communities

Populations residing in rural America have lower rates of dental care utilization, higher rates of dental caries, less water fluoridation, and fewer dentists per capita when compared to those living in urban environments. Dental workforce shortages in rural communities are endemic, despite the research on best practices for enhancing the rural workforce.

This research project examined the alignment of policy and infrastructure with evidence-based workforce strategies to increase access to oral health services for rural populations. Research focused on best practices as well as the barriers and facilitators to effective implementation of workforce strategies to increase the availability of oral health services.