The Disparity in Dental Care Between the Rich and the Poor

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A person receiving dental care
Disparity in dental care

Proper dental care is essential to living a healthy life. However, there’s a greater chance for people from low-income backgrounds to have greater dental health problems than those from affluent families. Here’s a quick analysis of the disparity in dental care between the rich and the poor.

The Gravity of the Situation

A greater percentage of people from deprived backgrounds have been hospitalized because they needed dental care than those who were better off financially. However, many people from low-income backgrounds struggled to receive the care they needed because 35% of low-income parents and 38% of low-income adults without children did not have health insurance in 2013.

What makes this situation worse is that dental care treatment in the hospital is about 10 times more expensive (even with Medicaid enrollees) than preventative dental care at a dentist’s office. Furthermore, Medicaid doesn’t cover preventative costs. Thus, enrollees have to rely on ER care at the hospital when their conditions worsen.

The Effects of Lack of Dental Care for the Poor

Receiving proper dental care is vital because it affects the patient’s and physical health as well. A lack of proper dental care can contribute to various chronic illnesses that may pertain to cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, respiratory infection, and so on.

In addition to physical health ramifications, there are mental health concerns, such as a correlation between decaying or missing teeth and depression. This is also the case because missing teeth can result in increased self-consciousness and societal scrutiny.  So, it makes it more challenging for people from low-income backgrounds to thrive within society.

Lack of proper dental care for people from low-income backgrounds also causes them to struggle with its effects on their employment opportunities. Poor dental care causes patients to experience discrimination in the job market. Thus, there’s a cycle in which disparity in dental care between the rich and the poor causes the latter to continue struggling to receive better dental care because they can’t afford insurance.

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