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Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry
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Oral Health Prev Dent 18 (2020), Open Access     12. Feb. 2020
Oral Health Prev Dent 18 (2020), Open Access  (12.02.2020)

Open Access ORAL HEALTH, Online Article, Page 921-928, doi:10.3290/j.ohpd.a45412, PubMed:33215483


Online Article: Dental and Medical Service Utilisation in a German Population – Findings of the LIFE-Adult-Study
Schmidt, Jana / Ziebolz, Dirk / Zeynalova, Samira / Löffler, Markus / Stengler, Katarina / Wirkner, Kerstin / Haak, Rainer
Objectives: This study investigated utilisation behaviour of the dentist compared to general practitioners (GP) and medical specialists in a German cohort under consideration of risk indicators for irregular dental attendance.
Methods: Analysis of the results of the population-based LIFE-Adult-Study (Leipzig, Germany) was performed. A total of 2231 participants of the LIFE-Adult-Study were randomly selected to complete the relevant questionnaire, considering medical attendance behaviour. Associations of self-reported medical conditions, including dentaland medical attendance, sociodemographic factors, as well as self-reported general health status and oral health complaints were determined.
Results: Of the 2231 participants who were included in the analysis, 14.2% reported not to have visited the dentist during the preceding 12 months. There could be shown a more selective utilisation behaviour towards medical services in smokers, men, low socioeconomic status and depression. Women were more likely to attend the dentist than men (OR = 1.8, CI = 1.4–2.3). Smoking (OR = 0.7, CI = 0.6–1.0), low socioeconomic status (OR = 0.6, CI = 0.4–0.8) and depression (OR = 0.6, CI = 0.4–0.9) were related to less dental attendance. Additionally, persons who do not visit the dentist regularly showed less attendance of the GP as well as medical specialists (p <0.05). Depression could be shown to be an additional risk factor for unfavourable utilisation behaviour towards the dentist.
Conclusions: The results showed differences in dental and medical attendance, depending on different patient-related factors. Focusing attention towards high-risk groups might improve dental as well as medical utilisation behaviour, and therefore health status as well.

Keywords: dental attendance, prevention, high-risk groups, cross-sectional population-based study, high-risk strategy