Preventive Dental Care Utilization in Asian Americans in Austin, Texas: Does Neighborhood Matter?
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Although dental care is an essential component of comprehensive health care, a substantial proportion of the U.S. population lacks access to it. Disparities in dental care are most pronounced in racial/ethnic minority communities. Given the rapid population growth of Asian Americans, as well as the growing attention of neighborhood-level effects on health care use, the present study examines how individual-level variables (i.e., age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, education, place of birth, length of stay in the U.S., dental insurance, and self-rated oral health) and neighborhood-level variables (i.e., poverty level, density of Asian population, dentist availability, and Asian-related resources and services) contribute to predicting the use of preventive dental care in a sample of Asian Americans in Austin, TX. This study adds to the growing literature on the effect of neighborhood-level factors on health care as sources of disparities. Those living in the Census area with higher level of available dentists were more likely to use preventive dental care services. Findings suggest the importance of the location (proximity or accessibility) to dental clinics. In a planning perspective for health care policy, identifying the neighborhood with limited healthcare services could be a priority to diminish the disparity of the access.