Dental Care Visits among Dentate Adults with Diabetes, United States, 2003

Journal of Public Health Dentistry (Impact Factor: 1.64). 02/2008; 68(2):102 - 110. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2007.00064.x

ABSTRACT Objectives: Regular dental assessments are beneficial to adults with diabetes. This analysis evaluates nationally representative data to test the relation between diabetes status and dental care visits, and to compare diabetes care, foot care, eye care, and dental care visits among dentate adults with diabetes. Methods: Data from the 2003 National Health Interview Survey were used to test whether diabetes status was associated with dental care visits among dentate adults aged ≥25 years, controlling for available covariates. Results: There was a significant interaction between diabetes status and sex for the odds of having a dental care visit. Among dentate men, there was no significant association between diabetes status and dental care visits. Dentate women with diabetes were significantly less likely to have had a dental care visit than were dentate women without diabetes. Of the four types of health care visits compared, dentate adults with diabetes were least likely to have had a dental care visit in the preceding year. Disparities in health care visit rates across race/ethnicity, poverty status, and education categories were most pronounced for dental care. Conclusions: Having diabetes is associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes, including periodontitis. Adults with diabetes would benefit from regular health care visits to address these concerns, but this report shows that women with diabetes are underutilizing dental care services. The underutilization may be a result of the barriers to dental care that disproportionately affect women. Additional research should test the plausibility of these explanations and the influence of sex.

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