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Rural America's oral health care struggle

A dental hygienist
Poor oral health has become an issue in rural America. Photo: Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

"Rural America has become cavity country: Dentists and patients both struggle to get by," Anne Kim of the Progressive Policy Institute writes for WashPost Outlook.

Why it matters: "Poor oral health has an impact beyond mere toothache. A landmark 2000 report by the U.S. Surgeon General found that oral health is intimately linked to people’s overall physical health and is often associated with serious systemic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as the likelihood of complications in pregnancy."