In March, a prominent annual assessment of health showed just how starkly different life can be county to county, state to state. It demonstrates that your ZIP code can dictate how long and how well you live. But it also shatters the argument that a dental shortage doesn’t exist in Washington.
For the first time ever, the assessment, known as the County Health Rankings and produced annually by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, includes access to dental care as one of the key measures affecting health in a county. Oral health is critical to overall health yet thousands of Washingtonians can’t get it. The Rankings show just how dramatic the disparities are when it comes to getting dental care.
In Skamania County, the ratio of Washington residents to dentists is 11,122 to 1. Across the state, in Whitman County, it is 3,626 to 1. For the lucky residents of King County, the ratio is 1,063 residents to every dentist. (more…)