BACKGROUND: The aims of this study were to determine self-rated oral health and dental attendance habits among Swedish adults, with special reference to the role of social inequalities, after the Swedish dental care reform in 2008.
METHODS: The study is based on a survey questionnaire, sent to 12,235 residents of a Swedish county, in 2012. The age group was 16-84 years: 5,999 (49%) responded. Using chi-square statistics, differences in prevalence of self-rated oral health and regular dental attendance were analysed with respect to gender, age, educational level, family status, employment status and country of birth. Self-rated poor oral health was analysed by multivarite logistic regression adjusting for the different socio-demographic factors, financial security and having refrained from dental treatment for financial reasons.
RESULTS: Three out of four respondents (75%) reported fairly good or very good oral health. Almost 90% claimed to be regular dental attenders. Those who were financially secure reported better oral health. The differences in oral health between those with a cash margin and those without were large whereas the differences between age groups were rather small. About 8% reported that they had refrained from dental treatment for financial reasons during the last three months. Self-rated poor oral health was most common among the unemployed, those on disability pension or on long-term sick leave, those born outside the Nordic countries and those with no cash margin (odds ratios ranging from 2.4 to 4.4). The most important factor contributing to these differences was having refrained from dental treatment for financial reasons.
CONCLUSION: The results are relevant to strategies intended to reduce social inequalities in oral health, affirming the importance of the provision of equitable access to dental care.
2014. Vol. 14, no 1, 134- p.