Attitudes and Access Patterns of Michigan Veterans Ineligible for Oral Healthcare Benefits: A cross-sectional study

Valerie Nieto, Michelle Arnett, Danielle Furgeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Strict eligibility criteria exclude a majority of the veteran population from receiving oral healthcare benefits through the Veterans' Administration Dental Care program (VADC). The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of oral health status, and access/barriers to dental care of veterans who are ineligible for VADC benefits.Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted using a 24-item paper survey, disseminated in person to 227 veterans across the state of Michigan over a period of two months. Items included socio-demographic information, questions regarding perceptions of oral health, access to dental care, and perceived barriers. Descriptive statistics were collected to provide an overview of the data.Results: A response rate of 80% (n=182) was achieved. Veterans who perceived themselves as having a poor oral health status were less likely to have a dental home (p=.000) or receive dental care (p=.001). Respondents were more likely to report cost as a barrier (p=.000), and to report having had a toothache during the past 12-months (p=.000).Conclusion: Results from this study indicate that while veterans in general value the importance of oral healthcare, cost and time are significant barriers to accessing dental care for individual's ineligible for VADC benefits. Veterans who perceive themselves as having poor oral health are more likely to report oral health disparities. Further research is needed to impact Veterans Administration policy and decrease oral health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-13
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Veterans' oral health
  • access to care
  • dental insurance
  • oral health benefits
  • oral health disparities


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