Evaluating Race and Oral Health in the Four Largest States in United States of America
Sarah Bettag, Viyan S Kadhium, Tarek Metwally, Shernel Thomas, Romesh P Nalliah
Barriers, Dental health, Health insurance, Oral health
Citation Information :
Bettag S, Kadhium VS, Metwally T, Thomas S, Nalliah RP. Evaluating Race and Oral Health in the Four Largest States in United States of America. J Oral Health Comm Dent 2021; 15 (2):55-63.
Background: In the United States, racial oral health disparities have shown to be as fundamental as democracy itself. Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have helped alleviate some of those disparities but have not eradicated them. The political structure of the United States affords great freedom to each state that develop regionally specific policies for their own state. Each state in the United States varies in terms of health policy, political position and resources. Therefore, the barriers they face and the most widely accepted solutions will vary from state to state. Due to the state-by-state variation, it is difficult to imagine a nationwide policy that could help.
The current analysis targets the four largest US states by population—California, Florida, New York, and Texas.
Aim and objective: The aim of our study is to understand and describe trends in oral health outcomes and the existence of any racial disparities in oral health by closely examining sociopolitical trends in the four largest states (by population)—California, Florida, New York, and Texas.
Materials and methods: Data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) were used to produce this report. We evaluated data between 1999 and 2016 for the four largest states in the United States (by population)—California, Florida, New York and Texas. Trends were identified in the oral health markers in adults aged 18 years and older. Responses were categorized according to participants’ self-reported race and ethnicity.
Results: White adults in all four states were more likely to visit a dentist than black and Hispanic adults. White adults over the age of 65 years were less likely to have lost six or more teeth and also less likely to be edentulous. White adults aged 18–64 years were more likely to have retained all teeth than black and Hispanic adults.
Conclusion: Despite major improvements in oral health care within the United States, disparities still exist and vary from state to state and is not accorded with the same importance as general health care is. And that certain races/minority groups still experience disproportionate and unacceptable health care compared to their white counterparts.
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