Cost keeps many women from getting dental care

Cost remains a significant barrier for many U.S. women who need dental care, according to Women's Health USA 2011, the 10th edition of an annual data book released by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The report identifies priorities, trends, and disparities in women's health.

The 2011 edition highlights several new topics, including secondhand tobacco smoke exposure, Alzheimer's disease, preconception health, unintended pregnancy, oral healthcare utilization, and barriers to healthcare. For the first time, the special population section of the report features data on the health of lesbian and bisexual women, as well as Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander women. Data on American Indian and Alaska Native women also are featured.

The data indicate that historically underserved subpopulations of women are at increased risk for multiple negative health outcomes. Preventive care, increased access to vital health services, support, and resources can promote the health and well-being of all women.

With regard to oral healthcare utilization, HRSA found that in 2007-2009, more than 15% of women reported they did not obtain needed dental care in the past year because they could not afford care. In addition, about 10% of women with health insurance reported they did not obtain needed dental care in the past year due to costs, compared with 42.6% of women without health insurance.

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