Disparities in Dental Service Use among Adult Populations in the United States

Y. Y. Wu, W. Zhang, B. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: This article aims to examine the disparities in dental service utilization among 3 age groups: younger adults (20–49 y), middle-aged adults (50–64 y), and older adults (65+ y), among Whites, Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, American Indians or Alaska Natives (AIAN), and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI). Methods: Weighted logistic regression models were conducted to analyze 9 waves of cross-sectional survey data (2002–2018) from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We estimated age group- and race/ethnic–specific prevalences of dental service utilization adjusting sociodemographics and self-rated health for each wave and compared with crude analysis. Next, we performed linear regression analysis of the trend of adjusted prevalences over time and the average level by race/ethnicity and age groups. Results: Racial/ethnic disparities increased with age, even though the adjusted prevalences of dental service utilization were less apparent than the crude analysis. The all-wave average prevalence was 71%. Black older adults had the lowest level of dental service utilization (65%) as compared with the 2 highest groups: White older adults (79%) and Asian older adults (76%). The general younger adult populations had low prevalences, with the lowest among Asian younger adults (65%). AIAN and NHOPI individuals from all age groups tended to have average or below average prevalences. In addition, a decreasing trend of dental service utilization was observed among White individuals of all age groups (0.2%–0.3% lower per year, P < 0.01) and AIAN younger adults (0.5% lower per year, P < 0.01). Conclusion: Health policy, federal funding, and community-based programs should address the needs of dental service utilization for racial/ethnic minorities including Blacks, AIANs, and NHOPIs. Knowledge Transfer Statement: Our study offers insights into our understanding of disparities in dental service utilization among minority racial/ethnic groups. As health policy, federal funding, and community-based programs seek to improve oral health, there is a need to address access to and utilization of dental service for Blacks, American Indians or Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJDR Clinical and Translational Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • cross-sectional studies
  • health surveys
  • Medicaid
  • minority groups
  • oral health
  • social class

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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