Many Americans Don't Receive Preventive Dental Care: Survey

Many Americans Don't Receive Preventive Dental Care: Survey

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Too many Americans lack access to preventive dental care, a new study reports, and large differences exist among racial and ethnic groups.

For the study, researchers analyzed telephone survey data collected from nearly 650,000 middle-aged and older adults between 1999 and 2008. The investigators found that the number who received preventive dental care increased during that time.

However, 23 percent to 43 percent of Americans did not receive preventive dental care in 2008, depending on race or ethnicity. Rates of preventive care were 77 percent for Asian Americans, 76 percent for whites, 62 percent for Hispanics and Native Americans, and 57 percent for blacks, the results showed.

The study was published online Dec. 17 in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.

Factors such as income, education and having health insurance explained the differences in access to preventive dental care among whites and other racial groups except blacks, according to a journal news release.

The lower rate of preventive dental care among blacks may be due to a lack of awareness about dental health and dental care services, and to an inadequate number of culturally competent dental care professionals, suggested Bei Wu, a professor and director for international research at Duke University's School of Nursing, and colleagues.

Many Native Americans who live on reservations don't receive proper dental care, partly because too few dental care professionals choose to work for the Indian Health Services, the researchers pointed out in the news release.

The investigators also found that people with health insurance were 138 percent more likely to receive preventive dental care than those without insurance. Women were one-third more likely to get preventive dental care than men.

Smokers were also less likely to receive preventive dental care, which is of particular concern because tobacco use is a threat to oral health, the researchers noted.

The findings demonstrate the need to develop public dental health programs that target middle-aged and older Americans, improve access to dental care, and create a dental workforce that is culturally competent, the study authors said.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about dental health.

SOURCE: Frontiers in Public Health, news release, Dec. 17, 2013

 
Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.