Longitudinal Study of Access to Dental Care in Young Adults

The National Dental Telephone Interview Survey identified that young adults undergo a sharp decline in dental services use. Objective: The aim of this longitudinal study was to investigate the patterns of dental utilization of young South Australian adults aged 20-24 years at baseline. Methods: A random sample of young adults was selected from the electoral roll. At baseline telephone interviews were conducted for 1261 adults aged 20-25 years and 644 had a dental inspection. These provided socio-demographic, health behaviour, dental visiting and oral health data. Subjects were interviewed 2.5 years later. Data were weighted to age/sex distribution of the population. Two dependent variables of making a dental visit and usually visiting for a problem were modelled separately for those living with parents and those not. Results: Response rate at follow-up was 60.3 per cent (n=760). Making a dental visit since baseline was associated in a logistic regression model with last visit at public clinic (OR=0.1) and perceived need for a visit (OR=0.3) for those living with parents. In contrast, for those not living with parents, making a dental visit since baseline was associated with difficulty paying a $100 bill (OR=0.4), being Australian born (OR=0.1) as well as last visit at a public clinic (OR=0.3). Usually visiting for a problem at both baseline and follow-up was associated in a logistic regression model with having tertiary education (OR=0.2) and with normative need for a filling (OR=2.7) for those living with parents, but only with insurance (OR=0.4) for those not living with parents. Conclusion: Factors associated with patterns of visiting in a young adult population varied with living arrangements, however public clinic use was significant in relation to having made a dental visit for both groups. Supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Dental Research Foundation.

K. Roberts-Thomson*, J Stewart, K Goldsmith

Presented at the 81st General Session and Exhibition of the IADR, 25-28 June 2003, Goteborg, Sweden

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