Racial/Ethnic Differences in Receipt of Dental Cleanings During Pregnancy



      We aimed to examine racial/ethnic differences in receipt of dental cleanings during pregnancy, overall and by health insurance type, using 2016–2018 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System survey data from 39 states and New York City.


      We used a weighted linear probability model to estimate receipt of a dental cleaning during pregnancy. Key explanatory variables included race/ethnicity (Hispanic, White, Black, Asian and Pacific Islander (API), and other racial groups) and health insurance type (Medicaid, private, and other).


      Among a weighted sample of 5,301,753 individuals, 45.9% received a dental cleaning during pregnancy. Regression-adjusted predicted rates of dental cleanings were significantly higher among White than non-White individuals, with the lowest rates observed among Black (43.2%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 40.6%–45.9%) and API individuals (30.6%; 95% CI, 28.5%–32.7%). When comparing rates by health insurance type, adjusted rates were highest among privately insured White individuals (57.4%; 95% CI, 56.1%–58.7%) and lowest among Medicaid-enrolled API individuals (25.4%; 95% CI, 21.5%–29.2%).


      Fewer than one-half of pregnant individuals received dental cleanings, with the lowest rates observed for non-White individuals and Medicaid-enrolled individuals. Efforts are needed to increase dental visits among publicly insured, Black, Hispanic, and API pregnant individuals.
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      Ashley Kranz, PhD, is a Senior Policy Researcher at the non-profit RAND Corporation. She conducts health services research focused on improving access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes of marginalized populations, including children and adults enrolled in Medicaid.


      Ingrid Estrada-Darley, MSW, MPhil, is an assistant policy researcher at RAND and a PhD student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She conducts research focused on policy that impacts young children, families, Medicaid, and immigrant populations.