A Critical Literature Synthesis of Low-Income Oral Health Disparities in the United States and Interventions for Improved Access to Care
Over a decade ago the United States Surgeon General released a report about oral health in America which highlighted the disparities that exist between high and low-income populations. The current rates of untreated dental disease in low-income adults and children remain higher in low-income populations. This literature review examines low-income oral health disparities in the United States and the interventions that have been completed to increase access to dental treatment. An unequal distribution of dental providers and high costs for treatments contribute to the access issues that low-income individuals experience. This paper examines interventions at the individual, community, and policy levels. Innovations such as making changes in the dental workforce and expanding the role of mid-level dental providers are discussed. Evidence from the literature suggests that changes in government sponsored insurance policies have had the greatest impact on access to dental treatment. Behavioral interventions have been successful at changing oral health behaviors but further research needs to be done on how to best change the behavior of seeking dental treatment. Increasing the role of primary care providers was identified as an interdisciplinary collaboration to increase access for children. The untreated dental disease of low-income populations is a significant public health problem and further research needs to be done to determine the most effective innovations and interventions to increase access to care.
|Year of publication:||
|Other Persons:||Martha Ann Terry, BA (contributor) ; Thomas E. Guadamuz, PhD (contributor) ; Deborah Polk (contributor)|
|Subject:||Behavioral and Community Health Sciences|
|Type of publication:||Other|
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