Poor oral health as an obstacle to employment for Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities

J Public Health Dent. Winter 2013;73(1):79-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2012.00359.x. Epub 2012 Aug 13.


Objectives: To inform policy with better information about the oral health-care needs of a Medicaid population that engages in employment, that is, people ages 16 to 64 with Social Security-determined disabilities enrolled in a Medicaid Buy-In program.

Methods: Statistically test for significant differences among responses to a Medicaid Buy-In program satisfaction survey that included oral health questions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP) to results for the state's general population and the US general population.

Results: All measures of dental care access and oral health were significantly worse for the study population as compared with a state general population or a US general population. Differences were particularly pronounced for the OHIP measure for difficulty doing one's job due to dental problems, which was almost five times higher for the study population.

Conclusions: More comprehensive dental benefits for the study population could result in increased oral and overall health, and eventual cost savings to Medicaid as more people work, have improved health, and pay premiums for coverage.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Cost Savings
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Caries / complications
  • Dental Prophylaxis / statistics & numerical data
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Employment*
  • Facial Pain / psychology
  • Female
  • Gingival Diseases / complications
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Insurance Benefits
  • Insurance, Dental
  • Kansas
  • Male
  • Medicaid* / economics
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Oral Health* / economics
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Security
  • Tooth Loss / etiology
  • United States
  • Young Adult