Challenges faced by minority children in obtaining dental care

Ananda P. Dasanayake, Yufeng Li, Nok Chhun, Janet M. Bronstein, Noel K. Childers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deaths of children due to neglected dental diseases have put the issue of access to care by minorities at the forefront of dental public health discussions. We evaluated the trends in dental service utilization in relation to racial disparities and other factors using Medicaid enrollment and claims data from 1990 to 1997 for Alabama children 19 years of age and younger (N=512,049). Alabama Medicaid children visited the dentist at a low and declining rate. The number of participating providers gradually declined over time and the racial disparities in service utilization were related to the availability of a local provider. Lower service utilization, however, was not a simple function of race, but a complex interaction of race with age and gender. Identification of these complex interactions and removal of barriers to service utilization in race, age, and gender sub-groups will help the U.S. meet the year 2010 oral health objectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-788
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Dental service utilization
  • Health disparities
  • Medicaid
  • Minority oral health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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