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Even Before Coronavirus, Almost Half of Adults in Rural Areas Went Without Dental Care

July 20, 2021
by Liora Engel-Smith, North Carolina Health News


Millions of rural residents have not seen a dentist in over a year, a recent CDC report reveals.

In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic forced dentists to shut down, 42 percent of adults in rural areas did not receive dental care, according to the survey. In urban areas, roughly a third of adults did not see a dentist that year.

In both groups, people of color and low-income residents were less likely to have seen a dentist in 2019. These disparities were wider in rural areas, where issues such as transportation barriers, dentist and dental hygienist shortages and lack of health insurance are more common. The coronavirus pandemic has likely exacerbated the need, especially for low-income patients, the report says.

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