Reducing Demographic Disparities in Oral Health

Sunday, February 19, 2017: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room 311 (Hynes Convention Center)
Disparities in oral health among children and adults present a major challenge to policymakers in the U.S. and globally. In 2014, more than half of Native American children under 5 years old had untreated tooth decay. Between 2011 and 2012, untreated tooth decay among children aged 2–8 years was twice as high for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black children compared with non-Hispanic white children. Furthermore, older non-Hispanic black adults were at greater risk of losing all their teeth compared with older non-Hispanic white or Hispanic adults. Despite substantial efforts to reduce disparities, ethnic minorities, lower income, and older adults continue to experience the worst oral health. This symposium presents novel approaches to reducing oral health disparities that could provide the basis for new public policies to improve oral health among disadvantaged groups. The presentations are founded on established principles of social and behavioral science research to better understand the underlying mechanisms that account for better oral health outcomes. Speakers describe the application of social network analysis and system dynamics, as well as cultural factors in improving oral health among Native American populations.
Susan Reisine, University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine
Raul Garcia, Boston University School of Dental Medicine; Brenda Heaton, Boston University School of Dental Medicine
Using Social Networks To Improve Oral Health
Judith Albino, Colorado School of Public Health; Terry Batliner, University of Colorado
Preventing Caries in American Indian Children: Lost Battle or New Hope?