Predictors of utilisation of dental care services in a nationally representative sample of adults.
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OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to identify the predictors of utilisation of dental care services in Ireland.
PARTICIPANTS: The 2007 Irish Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition is a cross-sectional study, conducted in 2006/2007 (n = 10,364), by interviews at home to a representative sample of adults aged 18 years or over.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Multivariate logistic regression was used to investigate the influence of socioeconomic, predisposing and enabling factors on the odds of males and females having a dental visit in the past year.
RESULTS: The significant predictors of visiting the dentist in the past year were for males: having 3rd level education, employment status, earning 50,000 euros or more, location of residence, use of a car, brushing frequently, and dentition status. For females, the predictors were being between 25-34 or 55-64 years-old, education level, earning 50,000 euros or more, location of residence, use of a car, brushing frequently and dentition status.
CONCLUSIONS: Predictors of the use of dental services vary by gender. Predictors common to both genders were education level, higher income, location of residence, use of a car, brushing frequently and dentition status. Many of the predictors of dental visiting in the past year are also related to social inequalities in health. These predictors may be useful markers of impact for policies designed to address inequalities in access to oral health services.