Knowledge of the effect of dental care and dental visiting behavior on oral health impacts is important for effective resource allocation.
To determine the association between dental care, including the reason for dental attendance and time since last dental visit, with perceived oral health impacts among Australian adults.
Data were obtained from the Australian National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004/06. Analysis was limited to 4,170 dentate adults who answered the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14) questions. Prevalence of frequent impacts was defined as the percentage of people reporting 'fairly often' or 'very often' to one or more of the OHIP-14 questions.
Over half the dentate Australians (63.0%) visited a dentist in the past year. Unadjusted analysis showed a statistically significant association between the prevalence of frequent impacts and receipt of: extractions (prevalence ratio = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.2-2.2), scale/clean (0.7, 0.5-0.8), and denture care (1.6, 1.1-2.4). After adjustment for the usual reason for dental attendance there was no effect of any of the three treatments or the time since last visit on the prevalence of frequent impacts.
The usual reason for dental attendance, and not the time since last visit or the type of dental care supplied, accounted for differences in perceived oral health impacts.