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Oral Health Research

Data and research are important levers for achieving change. It’s well documented that health disparities are closely linked to race and ethnicity, income, geography, and age. Oral health outcomes are no different. The following is a collection of data ranging from a national, state, and organizational level.

National level: Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges is a culmination of two years of research and writing by over 400 contributors. As a follow-up to the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health in America, this report explores the nation’s oral health over the last 20 years. This report provides a nationwide lens that informs and aligns with DDCOF’s work.

State level: Populations who have historically been overlooked due to race, ethnicity, income, geography, or age often face health care barriers in many Colorado communities. More Coverage, Same Care is an oral health brief that uses insights from the 2021 Colorado Health Access Survey to illustrate challenges to access and use of oral health care. It proposes both questions and actions for policymakers and stakeholders interested in advancing oral health equity in Colorado.

Organizational level: To measure the impact of our mission of advancing oral health equity, the foundation partners with the Colorado Health Institute to serve as independent evaluators. The DDCOF 2021 Evaluation Report is focused on DDCOF’s responsive-funding grantees, with supplemental insights and data about invited grantees, the CO MDI program, and other DDCOF efforts in 2021. The insights gleaned from this evaluation will be instrumental in guiding the foundation through 2022 and beyond as we adapt to meet the needs of Colorado communities through the lens of improving oral health equity. 

Health Inequities Related to COVID-19 

  • Rural communities have a higher percentage of workers deemed essential than the Front Range’s cities and suburbs. Two essential sectors dominate rural employment — agriculture and education/health care/social services, according to the census data used for the index. (Colorado Health Institute) 
  • Black Coloradans make up 3.9% of Colorado’s total population but represent about 7% of coronavirus cases. Hispanic/Latino residents make up about 21.7% of the state’s population, but represent 28.1% of the coronavirus cases. Both groups are subject to systemic disparities that make them more prone to chronic ailments such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease. (The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment)
  •  The Social Distancing Index shows the most crowded homes are in the neighborhoods around the edge of Denver County — Westwood in southwest Denver and Montbello in the northeast, the Adams County suburbs along Interstate 25 and west of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge, and northwest Aurora near the border with Denver. These neighborhoods have some of the lowest incomes in the metro area. (The Colorado Health Institute) 
  • Immigrants in the U.S. represent approximately 17% of the labor force working in major industries such as health care, social assistance, educational services, construction, agriculture, food services and retail trade. Unfortunately, many immigrant workers and their families won’t benefit from the COVID-19 relief packages signed into law in March. (Community Catalyst) 

Oral Health Inequities in Colorado 

More Research Resources