Socioeconomic Determinants of Oral Health

Since posting my initial research plan in the spring, further reading has convinced me to slightly adjust my topic. While I was originally set out to uncover the reasons why some people feel uncomfortable at the dentist, I stumbled upon a much larger and perhaps more obvious problem: it’s not that most individuals don’t want to go to the dentist, it’s that many of them cannot go to the dentist. According to a recent study of the National Health Interview Survey, the main cause for adults to avoid the dentist is cost: over 40% of the surveyed population could not afford treatment or had no insurance, whereas only 10% of adults cited fear as the reason they had no recent dental visit. Certain populations within the United States are facing a serious disparity in accessibility to quality oral healthcare; many individuals either lack dental insurance and cannot afford it or don’t have access to a health center offering affordable services.

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