172174 Effect of Parental Language Spoken at Home on Children's Preventive and Regular Dental Services Utilization in the United States

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Christopher Okunseri, BDS, MSc , Department of Clinical Services, School of Dentistry, Milwaukee, WI
Matthew Noyce, DDS , Department of Developmental Sciences, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Scott Jackson, MS , Division of Biostatistics, Department of Population Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Nicholas M. Pajewski, PhD , Section on Statistical Genetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
T. Gerard Bradley, BDS, MS , Department of Developmental Sciences, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Aniko Szabo, PhD , Division of Biostatistics, Department of Population Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Objective: The issue of language barriers to medical care have been well documented. However, there is a paucity of information on the effect of language on dental services utilization for children in the United States. We examined the effect of parental language spoken at home on children's preventive and regular dental services utilization in the overall population and within the different racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

Methods: We analyzed data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), 20022004. Descriptive and multivariable analyses were performed using regular and preventive dental visits as the main outcome variables.

Results: Among children aged 1-18 years, 13% speak a language other than English at home. In univariate analyses, females, children between the ages of 7 to 12 years, and those whose parents spoke English at home had highest rate of preventative and regular dental visits. However, within Hispanics, the multivariable regression analyses revealed that the effect of language was not significant after adjusting for other covariates; and parental education was the strongest predictor of preventive and regular dental visits.

Conclusion: Lower dental service utilization was not associated with parents not speaking English at home, even among racial/ethnic minority populations. This study suggests the need for further research into the effect of cultural influence as distinct from language in the assessment of dental services utilization.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the impact of parental language spoken at home on dental service utilization. Evaluate the impact of parental language spoken at home on dental service utilization among racial/ethnic minority groups.

Keywords: Public Health Research, Access to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in developing the research question, worked with the biostatistician on the analysis and writing the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Oral Health Poster Session II
See more of: Oral Health