Burt and Eklund's Dentistry, Dental Practice, and the Community (Seventh Edition) - 2 - Social Determinants of Health and Oral Health Disparities and Inequities

Elsevier, Burt and Eklund's Dentistry, Dental Practice, and the Community (Seventh Edition), 2021, pages 10-19
Jane A. Weintraub, Michelle M. Henshaw

Population-specific differences are found across many diseases and healthcare services including oral health. They are important because they are associated with worse health outcomes and generally affect disadvantaged groups. From a population perspective, the factors that contribute to health disparities, such as poorer access to healthcare and poorer health and life expectancy among racial and ethnic minorities, take on particular significance as about 40% of Americans identify as belonging to one of these groups, and this percentage is projected to increase over the next few decades. At individual and population levels, oral health has a great impact on quality of life and well-being. Poor oral health, oral pain, dysfunction, and poor appearance—whether from tooth loss, craniofacial anomalies, oral cancer, or lack of dental care—can be detrimental to social and emotional well-being and ability to work and learn.