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National Healthcare Disparities Report, 2005

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Dental Visits

Regular dental visits promote prevention, early diagnosis, and optimal treatment of oral diseases and conditions. Failure to visit the dentist can result in delayed diagnosis, overall compromised health, and, occasionally, even death.13 Racial and socioeconomic differences in oral health are well documented, with minorities and poorer populations bearing a disproportionate burden of oral diseases.34

Figure 3.10. Persons with a dental visit in the past year by race, ethnicity, income, and education, 2002

Figure 3.10. Persons with a dental visit in the past year by race, ethnicity, income, and education, 2002

[D] Select for Full Text Description.

Key: NHOPI = Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; AI/AN = American Indian or Alaska Native.

Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2002.

Reference population: Civilian noninstitutionalized population.

  • The proportion of persons with a dental visit in the past year was lower among Blacks, Asians, AI/ANs, and persons of multiple races compared with Whites; among Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic Whites; among poor, near poor, and middle income persons compared with high income persons; and among persons with a high school education or less compared with persons with at least some college (Figure 3.10).
  • At 43.5%, the proportion of the total U.S. population with a dental visit in the past year fell short of the Healthy People 2010 goal of 56%.

To distinguish the effects of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status on health care utilization and to identify populations at greatest risk for barriers to health care utilization, this measure is stratified by income and education level.

Figure 3.11. Persons with a dental visit in the past year by race (top) and ethnicity (bottom) stratified by income, 2002

Figure 3.11. Persons with a dental visit in the past year by race (top) and ethnicity (bottom) stratified by income, 2002

[D] Select for Full Text Description.

Figure 3.11. Persons with a dental visit in the past year by race (top) and ethnicity (bottom) stratified by income, 2002

[D] Select for Full Text Description.

Key: AI/AN = American Indian or Alaska Native.

Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2002.

Reference population: Civilian noninstitutionalized population.

Note: Sample sizes were too small to provide estimates for high income AI/ANs.

Figure 3.12. Persons with a dental visit in the past year by race (top) and ethnicity (bottom) stratified by education, 2002

Figure 3.12. Persons with a dental visit in the past year by race (top) and ethnicity (bottom) stratified by education, 2002

[D] Select for Full Text Description.

Figure 3.12. Persons with a dental visit in the past year by race (top) and ethnicity (bottom) stratified by education, 2002

[D] Select for Full Text Description.

Key: AI/AN = American Indian or Alaska Native.

Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2002.

Reference population: Civilian noninstitutionalized population.

Note: Sample sizes were too small to provide estimates for for AI/ANs with less than high school education or some college education.

  • Socioeconomic status explains some but not all of the racial and ethnic differences in rates of dental visits (Figures 3.11 and 3.12).
  • Hispanics of every income and education level are less likely than respective non-Hispanic Whites to have had a dental visit.
  • Within each income and education group, racial minorities are typically less likely to have had a dental visit.

 

 

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