To document the frequency of self-reported use of dental services within a 2-year period by a sample of dentate Saskatchewan residents aged 18 years and older; explore the correlates associated with dental service use for men and women separately; and examine the age, gender and income distribution of dental insurance coverage.
The 1999-2000 Saskatchewan Population Health and Dynamics Survey provided a representative sample of 5,003 dentate respondents (mean age 45.5 years; 52.3% women), 18 years and older, randomly selected and interviewed by telephone.
Of those interviewed, 77% of the women and 67% of the men reported a dental visit within the previous 2 years. For women, logistic regression analysis indicated that when all other factors were held constant, the odds of dental service use within the last 2 years were higher among those who were aged 18-19 years, had post-secondary education or technical certification, were in the highest household income adequacy category, held dental insurance and engaged in such preventive behaviours as regular general checkups, eye checkups, skin self-examination and not smoking daily. For men, the odds of dental service use within the last 2 years were greater if they had education at or beyond the secondary level, were students, were in the upper or highest income adequacy levels, held dental insurance and engaged in preventive health behaviours such as general checkups, eye checkups and not smoking daily. Dental insurance coverage was strongly associated with household income adequacy and peaked among men and women aged 30-49 years.
This study indicates that the roles of gender, income, education, age, health-related behaviours and resources such as dental insurance should be considered in future public oral health strategies. We propose a conceptual model to aid in understanding the social structural and individual pathways to oral health.