March JADA looks at children’s oral health during COVID-19 pandemic

Pre-pandemic disparities persisted during 2020 and 2021


While the COVID-19 pandemic did not appear to create new disparities in oral health care for children based on race or ethnicity, pre-pandemic disparities persisted during 2020 and 2021, according to a study published in the March issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

The cover story, “Changes in Dental Visits and Oral Health for Children by Race and Ethnicity During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” looked at children’s receipt of oral health care and adverse oral health outcomes from 2017-19 and 2020-21 as reported by caregivers in the National Survey of Children’s Health.

Children from all racial and ethnic groups saw reductions in their receipt of oral care during the pandemic, but changes in their health outcomes during 2020 and 2021 were limited.

Pre-pandemic disparities in oral health care persisted for Black and Asian children when compared with white children. Hispanic children also experienced larger increases in their risk of experiencing adverse oral health outcomes than white children in 2020 and of having teeth in fair or poor condition in 2021.

“Continued monitoring of dental visits and adverse oral health outcomes by race and ethnicity is critical to ensure all children have access to oral health care,” the authors said in the study. “This information can help develop targeted interventions to improve children’s oral health, including for minoritized racial and ethnic groups.”

Other articles in the March issue of JADA discuss gingival hypersensitivity reactions to toothpastes, ChatGPT as a source of scientific information on third-molar surgery, and the association between self-reported oral health and systemic health outcomes.

Every month, JADA articles are published online at in addition to appearing in the print publication. ADA members can access JADA content with their ADA username and password.

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