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Keywords:

  • oral health;
  • barriers;
  • dental visits;
  • Europe;
  • Belgium

Abstract

Objective

The study aims to identify barriers to annual dental visits in the Belgian population.

Methods

We conducted a secondary analysis of data collected through the 2004 National Health Interview Survey in Belgium. Only respondents aged 15 years and older with complete information on dental consultations and the independent variables (n = 5940) were considered in this analysis. The associations between the lack of dental visits during the 12 months preceding the survey and covariates of interest were examined using a multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Results

Almost one-half of the respondents (49.7 percent) did not visit a dentist in the 12 months prior to the survey. Region of residence was significantly the common variable for the three age categories. In the 15- to 34-year-old category, males and two-person households were significantly less likely to report a dental visit during the 12 months preceding the survey. For the 35- to 54-year-old category, a low level of education was the covariate associated with the lack of dental visit. In the 55 years or older category, the factors associated with the lack of a dental visit in the 12 months prior to the survey were: male gender, low level of education, low household income, low weekly alcohol consumption, current smoker, and body mass index of ≥25 mg/kg2.

Conclusion

Barriers to dental visits in Belgium differ among age groups and are linked to personal and environmental factors. The findings confirm the existence of social health inequalities in dental visits among Belgian people.