How discrimination, socioeconomic factors contribute to oral health disparities: Report

Thirty-seven percent of adults who have experienced discrimination have not undergone a routine dental visit in the last 12 months, according to new data from the CareQuest Institute for Oral Health. 

The oral health nonprofit released data showing how discrimination and socioeconomic factors contribute to oral health disparities. The organization surveyed 5,240 adults, according to a Sept. 26 news release.

Seven findings: 

1. People without dental insurance were almost twice as likely to report discrimination in oral healthcare compared to those with dental insurance.

2. People in minority communities indicated having worse oral health and irregular access to adequate dental care, despite reporting similar or better rates of oral hygiene habits. 

3. Adults who identified their race and ethnicity as "other" were more likely to report experiencing discrimination in oral healthcare settings.

4. Fifty-two percent of Black adults reported having lost at least one permanent tooth because of decay or gum disease, compared with 43 percent of all adults.

5. Eighty-seven percent of adults earning at least $100,000 each year were more likely to rate their oral health as excellent, very good or good, compared with 60 percent of those making less than $30,000 per year.

6. Homeownership was linked to higher rates of having a dental home, better self-rated oral health and more regular dental visits.

7. Fourteen percent of adults with a disability indicated they had experienced discrimination in a dental setting. Twenty-seven percent said they had been denied oral healthcare due to discrimination.

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