Broken Smiles: The Impact of Untreated Dental Caries and Missing Anterior Teeth on Employment

Published 04/30/2019

Dr. Halasa-Rappel, then a Biostatistician at the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement, authored an article, “Broken Smiles: The impact of untreated dental caries and missing anterior teeth on employment,” that was published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry. Dr. Halasa-Rappel and her co-authors used the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey to develop a Dental Problem Index (DPI) to quantify the impact of dental caries and missing anterior teeth on employment and estimate the impact of a routine dental visit on the health of anterior teeth and the benefits of expanding dental coverage for non-elderly adults. They found that a routine dental visit has a negative impact on the DPI and improves the probability of employment and estimated that improvement in dental coverage would improve the employability of 9,972 nonelderly adults.

The findings have important policy implications. Improvement in access to dental care should:

  • Reduce the prevalence of untreated dental diseases,
  • Improve the health of anterior teeth and employability, particularly among ethnic minorities, and
  • Strengthen state and federal government finances

This research was supported by the former DentaQuest Partnership and done in collaboration with Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management and the Medicaid | Medicare | CHIP Services Dental Association. Click here to view the article.