Americans Are Still Not Getting the Dental Care They Need
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, how are Americans faring in terms of oral health? In 2022, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health conducted a nationally representative survey of 5,682 adults as a follow-up to a similar study in 2021. This report summarizes the findings.
Responses to the 2022 survey reveal that while some aspects of oral health have rebounded since the earlier stage of the pandemic, several inequities persist. Key findings include:
- More than half of adults (55%) reported some type of oral health problem.
- More than half of adults with an oral health problem did not seek care, and one-quarter of them did not seek care because they could not afford it.
- In both 2021 and 2022, the most frequently cited dental problems were: toothache (23% in 2021 and 2022); cracked or broken teeth (20%; 18%); swollen or bleeding gums (18%; 17%); and frequent dry mouth (15%; 17%).
- For those who had not seen an oral health provider in the last two years, 27% cited cost as a reason, 18% cited the COVID-19 pandemic, and 11% said they had no reason to go.
- The report also recommends solutions to increase access to care, such as expanding Medicaid adult dental benefits, teledentistry, and expanding the reach of the oral health care workforce.
You may also be interested in:
- Recent Trends in Hospital Emergency Department (ED) Visits, a visual report which looks at the rate, characteristics of patients, and overall costs of visits to hospital EDs for nontraumatic dental conditions.
- Many Older Adults Delayed Dental Care During the Pandemic, a research brief which explores the repercussions of nearly 6 million older adults delaying dental care during the pandemic and potential solutions.
- A Three Domain Framework to Innovating Oral Health Care, a white paper that proposes a new model in dentistry with a focus on tele-prevention, minimally invasive care, and integrated, personalized care.