Visits to the dentist decline in old age, especially among minorities

ScienceDaily | 7/24/2019 | Staff
iceyy (Posted by) Level 3
The study, published online in the journal Research on Aging, also highlights disparities in dental visits for U.S. adults by race and country of birth, with immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities less likely to access care.

Oral health is increasingly recognized as an essential part of healthy aging. It is closely related to overall health status and quality of life, and regular dental checkups can prevent oral diseases and maintain good oral health.

Dentist - Challenge - Americans - Adults - Minorities

However, regularly seeing a dentist is a challenge for many Americans, especially older adults, racial and ethnic minorities, and immigrant populations. Older adults face barriers such as a lack of access to quality dental care, awareness of the importance of oral health, and dental insurance coverage. Medicare does not cover most dental care, and only 12 percent of Medicare beneficiaries report having at least some dental insurance from another source to help pay dental expenses. These roadblocks to dental care increase for racial and ethnic minorities and immigrants, who may experience racial discrimination and language barriers in healthcare settings.

"To promote oral health and close racial and ethnic gaps in oral health disparities, seeing a dentist regularly is critical," said Wei Zhang, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and the study's first author. "Failure to engage in preventive dental care may lead to serious consequences such as tooth decay, pain, tooth loss, and inflammation."

Study - Researchers - People - Dentist - Age

In this study, the researchers examined how often people see a dentist as they age, focusing on U.S. adults 51 years and older, and explored variations by race and country of birth. While previous studies have looked at recent trends of dental care utilization among adults in the U.S., this study extends these efforts by using longitudinal data to focus on middle-aged and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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