Dental Coverage and Care Varies By Region

Dentistry Today

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Dentate adults between the ages of 18 and 64 with private dental insurance are more likely to visit a dentist than those with other types of dental coverage or no coverage, reports the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). There also is geographical variation in dental coverage and care, as well as in the availability of dental health professionals.

According to the NCHS, 57.1% of these adults in New England with private health insurance have dental coverage, followed by 55.8% in the Middle Atlantic, 55.0% in West North Central, 53.5% in East North Central, 45.6% in the South Atlantic, 45.6% in East South Central, 45.9% in West South Central, 48.6% in the Mountain region, and 48.0% in the Pacific. Nationwide, the average was 50.2%.

 

Compared with the national average of 22.1%, dentate adults age 18 to 64 with dental coverage were more likely to go without seeing a dentist in the past 12 months in the Mountain region (22.5%), West North Central (22.5%), South Atlantic (22.7%), East South Central (26.9%), and West South Central (29.4%) and less likely in New England (14.3%), Middle Atlantic (20.0%), East North Central (20.6%), and the Pacific (21.1%).

Among those with dental coverage, the Mountain (7.0%) and West South Central (5.4%) regions had significantly higher percentages of unmet needs due to cost in the past 12 months compared to the national average of 4.4%, while those in West North Central (2.8%) and Middle Atlantic (3.7%) had significantly lower percentages. The other regions did not see significant differences from the national average.

The NCHS used data from the 2014 to 2017 National Health Interview Survey, comprising 91,946 adult respondents age 18 to 64 who had not lost all of their upper and lower teeth. Information on private health insurance and dental care coverage was obtained from the 2014 to 2017 Person files. The data brief, “Regional Variation in Private Dental Coverage and Care Among Dentate Adults Aged 18-64 in the United States, 2014-2017,” was published by NCHS. 

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