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LGBTQ+ populations constitute increasing proportions of children, adolescents, and adults in the United States. Compared to their heterosexual counterparts, this group suffers from health inequities, including oral health. The report “Oral Health: Advances and Challenges” identified the LGBTQ+ community as an underserved population which faces significant barriers in accessing oral health care. Coverage of LGBTQ+ topics in formal education settings in both dental schools and dental hygiene programs is scarce, which contributes to inequities within this group. Increasing curriculum content related to LGBTQ+ populations is of utmost importance to promote optimal patient-provider interactions while improving oral health outcomes. Ensuring equity in oral health care provision will require deliberate, consistent efforts on the part of all stakeholders. Dental and allied dental education programs have made important strides in enhancing equity and inclusion in their institutions by engaging campus groups that support LGBTQ+ populations, creating mentorship programs, and collaborating with non-profit advocacy groups. Such efforts have successfully empowered LGBTQ+ patients, providers, and allies who are committed to further closing the knowledge gap. Most of the research regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts have been done in the medical arena and there is a void in the data available from the dental profession. To fill this void, recommendations are offered that institutions can easily implement to expand LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion visibility.


This work was originally published in the Journal of Dental Education, available at DOI: 10.1002/jdd.13100



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