Effects of Racism on Oral Health in the United States [Special issue of Community Dental Health, to be disseminated at the ‘Racism and oral health inequities’ International Association for Dental Research symposium, July 2021, Boston, USA]

Caswell A. Evans Patrick D. Smith

Effects of Racism on Oral Health in the United States [Special issue of Community Dental Health, to be disseminated at the ‘Racism and oral health inequities’ International Association for Dental Research symposium, July 2021, Boston, USA]

Authors: Caswell A. Evans Patrick D. Smith
doi: 10.1922/CDH_IADREvans04

Abstract

This paper comments on the Effects of Racism on Oral Health in the United States (US). It provides the background and sets the stage to raise questions about race: how was race defined originally, what exactly is race, and how have racial categories been enumerated? Following this path, the paper broadens the scope of view regarding data attributable to racial categories pointing to social and cultural factors that influence overall health outcomes, particularly those related to oral health. Oral health researchers, advocates, providers, administrators, program planners, and funders, among others rely on data, often compiled by racial categories. We should be aware of potential vagaries that can accompany race-based data, and its interpretation and application, regarding oral health. The paper suggests we should be mindful of other influences that affect documented differences among populations regarding their oral health status. Keywords: Oral Health, Race, Racism, Social Determinants of Health, Oral Health Equity, Workforce

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