Racial/ethnic disparities in adult preventive dental care use

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2003 Nov;14(4):516-34. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2010.0724.


Using the Behavioral Model of Health Services Utilization, this study examines whether adult preventive dental care utilization differs by ethnicity/race. Logistic regression results find that controlling only for predisposing characteristics (gender, age, education, and health status), African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Other race/ethnicity are less likely than whites to utilize dental services. However, the effects are no longer significant when enabling resource variables are included in the model (income level, insurance, census region, and metropolitan statistical area). Interactions between race/ethnicity and insurance status show that privately insured racial/ethnic minority groups do not differ from privately insured whites in their utilization of dental services. Similarly, the preventive dental care utilization of publicly insured African Americans and Other Hispanics does not differ significantly from privately insured whites. However, publicly insured whites, Mexican Americans, and individuals of Other race/ethnicity have significantly lower odds of utilizing dental services relative to whites with private insurance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Health*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Racial Groups