Gender-based differences in factors related to non-utilization of dental care in young Norwegians. A longitudinal study


Erik Skaret, Center for Odontophobia Faculty of Odontology, Aarstadveien 17, N−5009 Bergen Norway
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The present study had the following aims: (i): to evaluate the utilization of dental care among young adults during the age period from 18 to 23 yr; and (ii) to explore possible characteristics at the age of 18 yr that may predict non-utilization of dental care at the age of 23 yr. Respondents from a random sample of adolescents that had been surveyed at the age of 18 yr (n = 968) were surveyed again at the age of 23 yr. The data were based on (1) baseline data collected at the age 18 yr, and (2) a questionnaire mailed to the same subjects at the age of 23 yr. The response rate was 69%. The time since the last dental appointment at the age of 23 yr was longer for men than for women. Of the 2% that had not been to the dentist for the last 5 yr or more, the majority were men (69%). Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that the following characteristics at the age of 18 yr were predictive of being included in a non-utilization group (n = 45) at the age of 23 yr: multiple fears (odds ratio (OR) = 3.0), treatment at the age of 18 yr not completed (OR = 2.5), and high dental anxiety (OR = 2.0 for women and OR = 1.2 for men). These gender differences may influence future strategies for prevention of dropout from care and possible interventions aimed at bringing adolescents back to regular dental care.