OBJECTIVES: This report presents statistics from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) on selected measures of oral health status and oral health care access for adults aged 18-64. Estimates are presented by sex, age, race and ethnicity, nativity, education, poverty status, health and dental insurance status, region, place of residence, dentition status, current smoking status, current drinking status, and diabetes status.
DATA SOURCE: NHIS is a multistage probability sample survey conducted annually by interviewers of the U.S. Census Bureau for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, and is representative of the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States. Data are collected for all family members during face-to-face interviews with adults present at the time of interview. Additional health information is obtained from one randomly selected adult. If the selected adult is physically or mentally incapable of responding for himself or herself, a proxy respondent is used.
SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS: Among adults aged 18-64, about three-quarters had very good or good oral health, 17% had fair oral health, and 7% had poor oral health. Adults with Medicaid were almost five times as likely as adults with private health insurance to have poor oral health. Adults with Medicaid (21%) were almost twice as likely as adults overall (12%) to not have had a dental visit in more than 5 years. Among adults aged 18-64, the main reason to forgo a dental visit for an oral health problem in the past 6 months was cost; 42% could not afford treatment or did not have insurance. Fear was the reason that 1 out of 10 adults did not visit the dentist for an oral health problem.