Data are crucial to understanding the oral health status of Coloradans and the barriers they face as they try to meet their oral health needs. However, often, data exist but are not readily accessible for decision-making, planning, and needs assessments. To advance oral health equity, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation (DDCOF) is leading the way to make oral health data accessible to all. Our first step is to introduce the new Colorado Oral Health Data Dashboard, which serves as a resource to anyone in search of oral health data.
The interactive dashboard, built for DDCOF by our partners at the Colorado Health Institute, centralizes oral health data through a user-friendly online platform. The dashboard is based on the Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS), the premier source of information on health coverage, access to care, and the factors that influence health across Colorado. The included data cover oral health outcomes, access and utilization of care, barriers and affordability, and culturally competent care. These data can be displayed by age, race, insurance status, rurality, or family income. Additionally, data are available biennially from 2013 to 2021 and at a county or regional level. New data will be added on an ongoing basis, and these are available to download as a regional one-pager or a map.
Here’s an example of how these data can be used to improve the oral health of historically marginalized communities across Colorado:
An organization in the San Luis Valley wanting to determine the extent to which cost is a barrier for uninsured residents in their area to visit the dentist could create the chart below by choosing their region, the indicator, and demographic category. Then, the organization can decide if providing low-cost oral health services is needed in their area and act accordingly.
We will have oral health equity in Colorado when people, regardless of their race, gender, socioeconomic status, or place of residence have access to oral health education, preventive care, and restorative services, when needed. Democratizing oral health data is an important foundation for achieving this goal, and we look forward to this resource being of use to organizations working to improve the oral health of their communities. Sincere thanks to the members of more than 30 Colorado organizations who informed the design of the dashboard and special thanks to the CDPHE Oral Health Unit and Arcora Foundation for your cooperation, vision, and partnership.