Online Program

Disparities in oral health and the association with disparities in the receipt of needed dental care: Findings from the survey of the health of Wisconsin

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Kristen Malecki, PhD, MPH, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Lauren E. Wisk, PhD, Department of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
F. Javier Nieto, MD, MPH, PhD, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Oral health surveillance data on adults in Wisconsin, as in most states, has been mostly limited to self-reported survey data. Therefore, we sought to utilize unique data, including an oral exam and survey, to understand oral health in the state, to identify who is at greatest risk of having poor oral health and what predicts someone having poor oral health. Data are from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) Oral Health Screening project, conducted in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Our sample included 1,453 adult Wisconsin residents who completed an oral exam and SHOW questionnaires. Over 15% of Wisconsin residents who participated had untreated cavities. 20% of participants didn't get the dental care they needed; and nearly 70% of those participants said it was because of costs. Individuals who reported unmet need for dental care for any reason were four times more likely to have untreated cavities, controlling for sociodemographics and oral health behaviors. Additionally, individuals with unmet dental need were also 3.70 times more likely to have experienced regular painful aching in their mouths during the past year and 3.76 times more likely to need urgent treatment for their teeth, controlling for covariates. Additional disparities in oral health existed by socioeconomic status (education and income), health insurance status, and oral health behaviors. Even when accounting for oral health behaviors, such as brushing and flossing, the strongest predictor of poor oral health was experiencing unmet dental need in the past year.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public
Public health biology
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify oral health disparities in Wisconsin, including those based on access to care. Analyze the impact of oral health behaviors, including tooth brushing, on oral health status. Assess the role of access to needed dental care on resulting disparities in oral health outcomes, independent of oral health behaviors.

Keyword(s): Oral Health Needs, Oral Health Outcomes

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As co-Director of a population based examination survey, my research interests include identifying community programs and individual behaviors to promote health equity particularly for complex chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Given the importance of oral health to overall health and it's link to cardiovascular disease, we have partnered with the state health department in Wisconsin to better understand the complex upstream determinants of objective measures of oral health and unmet oral health needs.
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.