Dental insurance and dental service use by U.S. women of childbearing age

Mary Beth Kaylor, Barbara J. Polivka, Rosemary Chaudry, Pamela Salsberry, Alvin G. Wee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: Oral health has a significant effect on health, and for women, poor oral health can lead to poor birth outcomes and can affect their child's health. Nursing interventions to improve the oral health of at-risk women have the potential to increase maternal and child systemic and oral health. The identification of women at a high risk for poor oral health is a necessary to develop and evaluate these interventions. Design and Sample: This study examined the factors related to dental insurance and dental service use for women of childbearing age in the United States. A secondary analysis of the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was completed to examine the predisposing, enabling, and need variables associated with dental insurance status and dental service use in a representative random sample of 1,071 women. Results: The results showed that over 40% of women had no dental insurance. Women with less education, lower income, and dental need were significantly less likely to have dental insurance. Dental utilization by the uninsured was low and a racial/ethnic disparity was noted. Conclusion: A lack of dental insurance and dental service utilization is a significant concern. Nurses working with low-income women should educate the population about oral health and advocate for policies to increase dental insurance coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-222
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Access to health care
  • Population-based nursing
  • Women's health


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