The New York State Minority Health Survey: Determinants of Oral Health Care Utilization Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES:To determine the factors associated with visits to a dentist and more specifically the role of dental insurance coverage and to explore the reasons for not visiting a dentist among minorities in New York State. METHODS:The Minority Health Survey was a one-time, statewide, random digit-dialed telephone survey. We drew a directed acyclic graph (DAG) of the potential determinants of oral health care utilization for our population of interest and modeled the independent variables as determinants of oral health care utilization. The data for this study were analyzed in SUDAAN using appropriate weights and variance adjustments that accounted for the complex sampling design. Hence, this report is generalizable to the New York State adult "minority" population. RESULTS:About 63 percent respondents had visited a dentist in the past one year. Having dental insurance (adjusted odds ratio [adj OR]=2.5), having more than high school education (adj OR=1.9), being younger (adj OR=2.3 for 18-25 years vs age 40 years or older), being married (adj OR=1.7), being dentate (adj OR=0.3 for edentulousness), and having higher income (adj OR=0.5 for middle vs high income) were significantly associated with having visited a dentist in the past year. Cost and awareness-related factors were the most common reasons for not visiting a dentist. Most of the year 2000 oral health objectives measurable in this survey were not met. CONCLUSION:Increasing dental insurance coverage and increasing awareness about oral health care would be the two biggest factors in meeting the goals of year 2010.

publication date

  • September 2003