NHANES Oral Health Data Reflect Barriers & Inequities

Published 05/19/2020

Mortality rates from the novel coronavirus are disproportionately high for people of color, generating a vigorous dialogue about health disparities in America. Lacking meaningful medical and dental insurance is one example of how Black and Latino adults can be uniquely vulnerable when a health-related crisis arrives.

Access to routine dental care is limited for many Americans, and low-income adults face a particular challenge because of the cost of care or a lack of coverage through Medicaid or Medicare. Lacking access to preventive services, these Americans are less likely to maintain good oral health. Newly released data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES) survey (2017-18) reveals that oral health inequities persist.