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J Public Health Dent. 2018 Jun;78(3):187-191. doi: 10.1111/jphd.12261. Epub 2017 Dec 15.

Two decades of persisting income-disparities in dental caries among U.S. children and adolescents.

Author information

1
Department of Dental Ecology, Koury Oral Health Sciences Building, University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe trends in income disparities in dental caries among U.S. children and adolescents during two decades of fluctuating economic growth.

METHODS:

Data were from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted in 1988-1994, 1999-2004, and 2011-2014. The number of tooth surfaces with dental caries experience per child was computed for three age groups: 2-5, 6-11, and 12-17 years. Absolute and relative measures of inequality compared caries experience in families below the poverty level with families where income was at least three times the poverty threshold.

RESULTS:

Conspicuous, inverse income gradients in dental caries were observed at each time period and in each age group. However, there was no consistent trend or statistically significant change in the degree of inequality between survey periods.

CONCLUSIONS:

Persisting income disparities in dental caries among U.S. children and adolescents challenge public health dentistry to redouble efforts to redress the inequity.

KEYWORDS:

United States; child; dental caries; health status disparities; health surveys; poverty

PMID:
29243816
PMCID:
PMC6003830
[Available on 2019-06-01]
DOI:
10.1111/jphd.12261

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