H-HEALTHY LIVING

Dec 31, 2013 2:10 PM by NBC News

Certain ethnic groups less likely to see dentist

Although more Americans are seeking preventive dental care, a new study reveals there is still a large disparity among racial and ethnic groups.

Duke University researchers looked at the oral health histories of nearly 650,000 middle aged and elderly Americans between 1999 and 2008. They found that while three quarters of Caucasians and Asian Americans got preventive dental care, Hispanics, Native Americans and African Americans were significantly less likely to have seen a dentist.

Experts say these differences are most likely due to income, education and access to health insurance.

They say the findings are concerning because while dental neglect can cause decay and tooth loss, gum disease has been linked to cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

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