Oral Health and Dental Care in Older Asian Americans in Central Texas
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Objectives: To examine factors associated with dental health insurance, self-rated oral health, and use of preventive dental care services in older Asian Americans. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: The Asian American Quality of Life Survey was conducted with 2,614 Asian Americans living in central Texas using questionnaires available in English and six Asian languages.
Participants: Asian American Quality of Life Survey participants aged 60 and older (N = 533; mean age = 69.4 ± 6.9).
Measurements: Participants were asked whether they had insurance that covered the cost of any dental visit, how they would rate their overall oral health status, and whether they had visited a dental clinic for a routine examination in the past 12 months. Information was also collected on sociodemographic and immigration-related variables.
Results: More than 61% of the sample had no dental health insurance, 45% reported that their oral health was fair or poor, and 44% had not used preventive dental care services. A series of logistic regression analyses identified factors posing a significant risk to oral health and dental care. For example, those with limited English proficiency were 3.5 times as likely to lack dental health insurance and 3.2 times as likely to rate their oral health as fair or poor. The odds of not using preventive dental care services were 6.4 times as great in those without dental health insurance.
Conclusion: The overall findings call attention to efforts to promote oral health and dental care in older Asian Americans.