Past-year dental visits more frequent in urban versus rural areas

Past-year dental visits more frequent in urban versus rural areas

Nearly two-thirds of adults have had a dental visit within the past 12 months, according to a July data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Amy E. Cha, Ph.D., and Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, used data from the 2019 National Health Interview Survey (adults aged 18 to 64 years) to assess urban-rural differences in dental care use in the past 12 months.

The researchers found that nearly two thirds of adults (65.5 percent) had a dental visit in the past 12 months, with a higher percentage seen among adults residing in urban areas (66.7 percent) versus rural areas (57.6 percent). Women were more likely than men to have had a dental visit in the past 12 months in both urban and rural areas. Non-Hispanic White adults (70.2 percent) were more likely to have a dental visit than Hispanic (59.4 percent) and Black (61.8 percent) adults in urban areas. Findings were similar in rural areas, with non-Hispanic White adults (59.1 percent) more likely than Hispanic adults (45.7 percent) to have a dental visit. Dental visits increased with family income in both urban and rural areas.

“The lower percentage of dental care use in rural areas may be attributed to the lower density of dental care providers in these areas,” the authors write.

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