Why Care

Why Hope Matters

“Man can live about 40 days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air… but only for one second without hope.” – Unknown

The Minnesota Department of Health estimates:

  • 1.5M Minnesotans are completely without dental coverage
  • 60% of Minnesota counties are considered Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas, including Ramsey County.

Without access to free dental care, thousands of Minnesotans would continue to suffer the horrific consequences of untreated oral pain, infections, and poor health, including:   

  • Poor Academic Performance: Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, and children with poor oral health are nearly three times more likely to miss school because of dental pain.   
  • Reduced Employability: One in three low-income adults with poor oral health say that the condition of their mouth and teeth affects their ability to interview for a job. For them, a good smile connotes positive personal and professional traits.
  • Cardiovascular disease: You can have heart disease once the bacteria from your inflamed gums and the periodontal disease enter your bloodstream. In effect, the arteries will harden. The hardening of the arteries can cause a decrease or blockage of blood flow in your body. Additionally, endocarditis can also occur.
  • Dementia: Bacteria can also enter the brain. It can pass through the nerve channels in the head or the bloodstream. It can even lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Respiratory infections: A gum disease can also infect the lungs. Pneumonia is a common health issue related to gum disease. This effect might not show earlier. However, the extended period of breathing bacteria from infected teeth and gums causes this respiratory infection.
  • Diabetic complications: Gums and periodontal disease can make it harder to control blood sugar in the body. As a result, it can worsen diabetes.
  • Pregnancy problems: Your newborn might incur health problems or low birth weight. Furthermore, you are susceptible to have a preterm birth creating unhealthy babies.

Poor oral hygiene is in crises mode:

  • Less than half of low-income children in Ramsey County received preventive dental care in the past year.
  • Over half of Minnesota adults aged 65+ do not have dental insurance.
  • 800,000 must forego care due to cost each year. 
  • The impact of COVID and inflation exposed more and more people without dental care. Families are faced more and more with choosing to buy food, pay rent, and utilities with fewer jobs and funds. That has increased the numbers of people who need Hope’s care.

Hope Dental is the only free dental care provider in the Twin Cities Metro serving our fellow Minnesotans from across the state who are unable to afford the full cost of care.

  • 90% of Hope Dental’s patients fall below 200% of federal poverty guidelines
  • 48% identify as having immigrant/refugee status
  • 43% are people of color
  • 35% identify as Hispanic/Latino
  • 21% utilize the clinic’s on-staff Spanish interpreter