Chartbook: Oral Health and Unmet Needs for Dental Care Among Children

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2006
Project completed:
September 2008
Although existing literature and survey findings clearly document the burden of disease among children and disparities by race/ethnicity and income, less is known about oral health disparity by urban/rural residence among U.S. children. The Maternal and Child Health Bureau recently released "The Oral Health of Children: A Portrait of States and the Nation 2005," a dissemination portal for oral health findings from the National Survey of Children's Health. While meeting many purposes, the publication is limited in presenting results by race, geographic residence, or the intersection of the two. Our study will contribute to existing knowledge by illuminating oral health disparities among rural and minority children.

The objectives of this comprehensive study were to:

  • Describe the availability of dental care providers across the nation using tables, graphs, and maps at the national level.
  • Examine the oral health status, access to dental care and unmet dental care needs for rural and minority children at the national, regional, and state levels.
  • Examine how states rank against each other as a whole with regards to oral health status and access to dental care.
  • Examine how rural parts of each state rank against each other with regards to oral health status and access to dental care.