Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Much room for improvement in access to preventive dental care in USA

Date:
December 17, 2013
Source:
Frontiers
Summary:
The uptake rate of preventative dental care increased over a ten-year period in the United States, but there remains a large disparity among ethnic groups, reports one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on the subject.

The uptake rate of preventative dental care increased over a ten-year period in the United States, but there remains a large disparity among ethnic groups, reports one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on the subject, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Public Health.

Neglect of dental care can have serious consequences like decay, inflammation, and loss of teeth, and an increased risk of malnutrition. Gum disease has been implicated in an increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Easy access to affordable preventive dental care -- in the form of regular checkups and cleanings by dentists or dental hygienists -- can help to improve the quality of life of a population.

Oral health is particularly important in a rapidly aging population, because middle-aged and older people are more likely to develop chronic conditions and complications. Yet few studies have focused on the dental health-practices of older persons.

In a new study, Professor Bei Wu, Director for International Research at Duke University's School of Nursing, and her colleagues analyzed self-reported oral health behaviors of almost 650,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans in a phone survey conducted between 1999 to 2008 by the National Center for Statistics and Prevention. This study is the first to compare dental care between Caucasians, Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans.

Respondents were asked when they last had their teeth cleaned by a professional, because dental cleaning is a commonly used indicator of access to dental services. They were also asked about their gender, age, marital status, income, education, ethnicity, weight, general health, number of teeth removed, and drinking and smoking habits.

Results show that the number of people who received preventive dental care underwent a slight yearly increase in all five ethnic groups. But there is a long way to go, as 23% to 43% of Americans received no preventive dental care in 2008, depending on ethnicity.

Key findings include:

  • People with health insurance were 138% more likely to receive preventive dental care.
  • Women were 33% more likely to receive preventive dental care than men.
  • 77% of Asian Americans and 76% of Caucasians reported receiving preventive dental care in 2008. Hispanics, Native Americans, and African Americans, were significantly less likely (62%, 62%, and 57% of interviewees, respectively) to receive preventive dental care.
  • Differences between Caucasians and other ethnic groups (except African Americans) in access to preventive dental care can be explained by socioeconomic differences such as income, education, and having health insurance.
  • African Americans' reduced access to preventive dental health might be due to an insufficient number of culturally competent dental care professionals, and to a lack of awareness of oral health and dental care services within this ethnic group.
  • Many Native Americans in reservations receive inadequate dental care, partly because not enough dental care professionals are motivated to work for the Indian Health Services.
  • Smokers were less likely to receive preventive dental health care. This is of particular concern since oral health is negatively affected by tobacco use.

The researchers conclude that it is imperative to develop public dental health programs that target middle-aged and elderly Americans, improve dental care access, and to train a dental workforce that is culturally competent.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Frontiers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bei Wu, Jersey Liang, Huabin Luo, Robert Furter. Racial and Ethnic Variations in Preventive Dental Care Utilization among Middle-Aged and Older Americans, 1999–2008. Frontiers in Public Health, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2013.00065

Cite This Page:

Frontiers. "Much room for improvement in access to preventive dental care in USA." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217210538.htm>.
Frontiers. (2013, December 17). Much room for improvement in access to preventive dental care in USA. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217210538.htm
Frontiers. "Much room for improvement in access to preventive dental care in USA." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217210538.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins