Dental health is vital to nutrition health. Our purpose was to examine the need for dental care by limited-income adults.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Online cross-sectional survey; Waiting room attendees at 5 Pennsylvania Free Clinics. Participants (n=93; mean age 41.2 ± 12.3 y) were white (97%) mostly female (71%), overweight/obese (74%), worried about money for food or nutrition assistance program participants (80%); food insecure (33%).
Outcome Measures and Analysis
USDA food security screener, Satter Eating Competence Inventory, dental health items from tested surveys (e.g., NHANES, national and state-based health surveys). Analyses included measures of central tendency, Chi Square, means testing.
Last dental visit was > 3 years for 24%, > 1 year for 50%. Dental problems in previous 6 months included toothache (42%), bleeding gums (17%), jaw joint pain (14%), missing fillings (11%) and teeth (8%). Life was less satisfying because of dental problems for 30%. Job/School difficulties for 11% were associated with dental problems. 32% avoided foods for dental problems. Compared to respondents with marginal/high food security, those with very low/very low food security were less able to afford dental care, less likely to report no dental problems in the previous 6 months (42% vs. 75%), found life less satisfying because of dental problems (50% vs. 17%), had difficulty eating/ chewing (25% vs 2%), and avoided foods that were difficult to chew (56% vs. 21%) (all P ≤ 0.01).
Conclusions and Implications
Dental problems were more prevalent in food insecure persons, which supports offering dental health education and services with nutrition assistance programs, including SNAP-Ed.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education
© 2016 Published by Elsevier Inc.