Discrimination Reduces Utilization of Routine Dental Care

Published 11/09/2020

A new research report from CareQuest Institute for Oral Health reveals that increased exposure to lifetime discrimination experiences is associated with a decreasing likelihood of getting routine dental care. More specifically, participants from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States Refresher who reported 4 or more discrimination experiences were 36% less likely to have a routine dental visit in the past 12 months.

In this study, we defined discrimination as the accumulation of socially structured actions resulting in unfair or unjustified harm to the individual over the course of their lifetime.

Other findings from the report:

  • With every additional discrimination experience, participants were 6% less likely to have a routine dental visit.
  • Over time, repeated discriminatory experiences, particularly within a health care setting, creates mistrust or fear in marginalized communities that can further impede the probability of patients accessing needed care.
  • There’s an ongoing need to address historic disparities that can result in unmet dental needs, while modernizing the oral health system to create more equitable outcomes.

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