Predictors of Limited Access to Dental Health Care Among NYC Taxi/FHV Drivers


Taxi and for-hire vehicle (FHV) drivers are a largely immigrant, low-income occupational group at increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Poor dental health is a CVD risk factor, and dental care access is an unexamined taxi/FHV driver CVD risk factor. A cross-sectional survey was administered to 422 taxi/FHV drivers (2016–2017) to identify predictors of access to dental health care among drivers. One-third (n = 128, 30.3%) reported needing dental care/tests/treatment within the past six months, and nearly one-half (n = 61, 48%) were delayed/unable to obtain care. Only 57.6% (n = 241) had past-year dental cleanings. Not having enough money to cover household expenses was a significant predictor of being delayed/unable to obtain needed dental care/tests/treatment in the prior six months (0.5 OR; 95% CI, 0.28–0.89; p < .05). Lack of dental insurance coverage (2.72 OR; 95% CI, 1.60–4.63; p < .001) or lack of primary care provider (2.72 OR; 95% CI, 1.60–4.63; p < .001) were associated with lack of past-year dental cleaning. Seventeen percent of drivers with Medicaid were unaware of their dental coverage, which was associated with both inability to access needed dental care/tests/treatment in the past 6 months (p = .026) and no past-year dental cleaning (p < .001). Limited understanding of dental coverage was associated with both an inability to access needed dental care/tests/treatment in the past 6 months (p = .028) and lack of past-year dental cleaning (p = .014). Our findings can inform targeted intervention development to increase taxi/FHV driver dental care access/uptake, potentially improving their CVD risk.

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We thank Members of the Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities (IHCD) Taxi Network and the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) for their insight and expertise. We thank Sonya J. Smyk, Memorial Sloan Kettering, for editorial support.


Grant sponsor: National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; Grant number: U01 MD010648; Grant sponsor: National Institute of Nursing Research; Grant Number: R01 NR015265; Grant sponsor: National Cancer Institute; Grant Number: P30 CA008748.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analyses were performed by FG, KL, SYK, BN, SM, NNM, NR, and YL. The first draft of the manuscript was written by KL and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Francesca Gany.

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To the best of our knowledge, no conflict of interest, financial or other, exists for any of the authors.

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This study was approved as exempt research by the Institutional Review Board at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

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Leopold, K.T., Kim, S.Y., Narang, B. et al. Predictors of Limited Access to Dental Health Care Among NYC Taxi/FHV Drivers. J Community Health (2021).

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  • Immigrants
  • Working Poor
  • Dental Care
  • Cross-Sectional Study
  • Insurance
  • Dental