New survey report reveals income, race, and ethnicity directly tied to dental access.
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, a prominent national nonprofit dedicated to advancing a more inclusive, fair, and integrated oral health system, has released groundbreaking data highlighting the profound impact of discrimination and socioeconomic factors on enduring oral health inequalities in the United States.
According to the latest survey, a striking 37% of adults who have encountered discrimination in various aspects of their lives and social contexts over the years have not had a routine dental visit in the past 12 months. In contrast, only 31% of those who have not faced discrimination reported the same. Furthermore, the study unveils a significant connection between discrimination in oral health care and economic variables. For instance, individuals without dental insurance were nearly twice as likely to report experiencing discrimination in oral health care (11%) compared to their counterparts with dental insurance (6%).
“The findings from this year’s survey underscore the troubling health disparities based on race, ethnicity, and economic status that continue to plague our healthcare system,” Kaz Rafia, DDS, MBA, chief health equity officer and executive vice president of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, says in a press release. “Every person should be able to achieve optimal health regardless of their background, and we will continue our work with policymakers, legislators, and advocates to ensure that dental care becomes more accessible for all.”
The report, which is based on a nationally representative survey of more than 5,000 adults, brings to light significant gaps in healthcare access and affordability for Hispanic, Black, and Asian adults. It reveals that individuals from minoritized communities consistently report poorer oral health and irregular access to sufficient dental care, despite demonstrating similar, and sometimes even superior, oral hygiene habits such as regular brushing and interdental cleaning. Additionally, adults identifying their race/ethnicity as "other" were more likely to report encountering discrimination in the oral health care context.
Key findings from the "Cost, Race, and the Persistent Challenges in Our Oral Health System" report include:
These findings underscore the urgency of continued efforts toward an oral healthcare system that provides comprehensive dental coverage for everyone, including those enrolled in public programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
The "State of Oral Health Equity in America" survey, conducted by CareQuest Institute, represents a nationally representative sample of 5,240 adults, aimed at studying knowledge, attitudes, experiences, and behaviors related to oral health. It stands as the largest survey of its kind in the industry.
For more information and access to the complete report, please visit: https://www.carequest.org/resource-library/cost-race-and-persistent-challenges-our-oral-health-system
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health is a national nonprofit championing a more equitable and integrated health system, so all people can achieve optimal oral health. The organization drives healthcare transformation by promoting comprehensive, integrated, and equitable healthcare across the United States, focusing on the most underserved.