Narrator: This is Science Today. A recent study of the nation's dental health care found there are growing disparities between the current system of dental health care and the population it serves. Researcher Elizabeth Mertz of the University of California, San Francisco, led the study.
Mertz: There's a whole segment of the population that these advances are not getting to and so we call these the underserved population - tend to be more minority populations, elderly populations, children, anyone with developmental disabilities or are medically compromised, that just don't have the suburban or urban access to care or they don't have the financial ability to have access to care.
Narrator: Unlike the nation's health care systems, Mertz says dental health care does not have any open door providers.
It really shows that the dental profession has been
able to keep themselves segmented in sort of their
own little cottage industry - not really integrated
at all into the larger systems of care that are forced
to deal with all of the uninsured and all of the underserved.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.