Dental Deadlock for Refugees

Minnesota refugees get short shrift when it comes to much-needed dental care. Many have never seen a dentist, or lack access to toothpaste or fresh water; some practice cultural traditions that are harmful to the mouth like chewing betel nuts (Burma) or removal of infant teeth buds (Ethiopia).

But refugees have only 90 days to receive essential services through federal resettlement programs—not enough time to seek dental care. Those enrolled in Medicaid or federal Refugee Medical programs have trouble finding practitioners willing to see them: Per a 2016 study, medical assistance plans offer paltry reimbursement compared with private insurance rates.

Minnesota Public Radio

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