University of Illinois at Chicago
ABRAHAM-THESIS-2023.pdf (1.95 MB)

COVID-19, Food Insecurity, and Access to Oral Healthcare

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posted on 2023-05-01, 00:00 authored by Pheba Abraham Abraham
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to dramatic shifts in employment rates and inflation, and will likely have long-ranging economic impacts, particularly on those who are already in lower SES groups. The initial shut-down and subsequent public health considerations have also affected the logistics of the practice of dentistry. It is likely that both the physical parameters of the pandemic and the economic effects have influenced access to oral health care and oral health care choices. We propose that increased economic instability and food insecurity early in the pandemic may have negatively influenced oral health outcomes and oral healthcare access. We further suggest that the ongoing pandemic is influencing patient choices regarding orthodontic treatment. To test these hypotheses, we developed a survey instrument that asks about demographics, dietary choices /food access, and oral health access and orthodontic choices. We are particularly interested in whether patients view their perceptions of orthodontic treatment as having shifted since the beginning of the pandemic, such as whether direct-to-consumer aligners have become perceived as “safer”. This survey (available in both English and Spanish) was made available to dental patients in all clinics at the Colleges of Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The proposed project has provided us valuable, real-time insight into the longitudinal effects of an economic and healthcare crisis on a range of dietary and oral health behaviors.



Nicholas, Christina


Nicholas, Christina



Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Masters

Degree name

MS, Master of Science

Committee Member

Allareddy, Sath Eapen, Asha

Submitted date

May 2023

Thesis type



  • en

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