NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Many Poor Americans Lack Dental Care

May 26, 2000

Americans have healthier teeth, thanks to better nutrition, brushing and flossing and fluoridated water, according to U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, but in a new report he says many poor people and racial groups have untreated oral disease.

  • One study cited showed that nearly half of all poor blacks and Hispanics have untreated tooth decay.
  • By contrast, about one-third of all Americans have untreated decay.
  • Uninsured children are 2.5 times less likely to get dental checkups than children who have insurance, says Satcher, and an estimated 108 million Americans have no insurance covering dental care.

About 100 million Americans do not have water that is fluoridated, although studies have shown fluoridation helps prevent tooth decay.

Source: Associated Press, "'Epidemic' of Oral Diseases Found Among Poor, Minorities," Dallas Morning New, May 26, 2000.


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