Accessibility Options

Contact Information

Center for Disabilities Studies
University of Delaware
461 Wyoming Road
Newark DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-6974
TDD: 302-831-4689
Email: info@gohdwd.org

Oral Health

Boy brushing his teethDental health is an essential part of healthy living.  According to the CDC, oral diseases like cavities and oral cancer cause pain and disability for millions of Americans each year. 1 Dental health is a reflection of lifestyle habits, as well as genetic factors. Dental health conditions like periodontal disease are “multifactoral”; resulting from both controllable and uncontrollable factors. 2 With the right combination of healthy lifestyle behaviors, people can decrease their risks for oral health problems. 

Health Implications

Oral health conditions have been linked with increased risk for other serious health conditions.   For example:

  • American adults with tooth loss report being significantly more likely than those without tooth loss to have heart disease3
  • Heart disease prevalence increased with extent of tooth loss3
  • People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease4
  • Several studies suggest a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke4

Risk Factors

Common risk factors for oral diseases are preventable as they relate to lifestyles, such as dietary habits, use of tobacco and excessive consumption of alcohol, and the standard of hygiene.When people have other health conditions like diabetes they have a much higher risk of developing oral health diseases. Good oral health is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle and to preventing additional health complications.

Access to Care

Medicaid does not provide coverage for dental care for adults in Delaware. Adults with Medicaid or those without insurance can acquire dental care by paying out- of- pocket costs or by visiting free dental care clinics. Several of the free clinics in Delaware have waiting lists to receive services.

Dental Hygiene in Delaware

In 2008, 67.7% of adults who reported having a disability reported visiting their dentist within the last 12 months compared to 76.2% of adults who did not report having a disability. In addition, 27.2% of adults who reported having a disability indicated that it had been longer than one year since they had been to their dentist for a teeth cleaning compared to 22.3% of adults who did not report having a disability.6

Dental Care

Variable

Categories

Without a Disability With a Disability

Total Delaware Population

Any visit to dentist in last 12 months

Yes

76.2%

67.7%

74.4%

No

23.8% 32.3%

25.6%

Teeth cleaning in last 12 months

Yes 77.7%

72.8%

76.7%

No 22.3% 27.2%

23.3%

Resources

This document provides a comprehensive list of dental clinics provided by the Delaware Division of Public Health.  The  list provides details about the clinic including location and hours, costs for services, and the insurance forms that they accept.  Many of the clinics offer free or low-cost services. Click here to download a pdf copy of this resource. 

Dental health resources in Delaware