Previous WWAMI RHRC research found that rural adults see dental providers less frequently and have higher odds of permanent tooth loss than adults in urban areas. Rural adults also have higher rates of dental caries. Lower dentists-to-population supply contribute to these oral health outcomes. Compared to the population’s distribution, dentists are significantly underrepresented within rural counties, especially in smaller and more isolated locations.
This national study will revisit the issue of dental supply and updates data that is more than a decade old on whether adults in rural locations report lower dental care utilization, a higher prevalence of dental disease or both compared to those in urban locations after accounting for demographic, socioeconomic and other factors. We will also explore disparities by socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic background to investigate and document differences at a time when systemic racial disparities have been exposed in the health care system.
C. Holly A. Andrilla, MS